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Dwight Howard tossed: 5 takeaways from Lakers’ loss to 76ers

A player is led off the basketball court
76ers center Dwight Howard argues after he is ejected from the Lakers game Thursday at Staples Center.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 109-101 loss to Philadelphia, a game that ended up being more interesting than it looked.

1) From first option to all options

Lakers guard Dennis Schroder has spoken about wanting to reach a long-term deal with the team, but after Thursday’s loss, he made it clear that deal will come after the season.

Schroder said that while he wants to remain with the organization, he wants to explore his options in free agency. When he last addressed his extension talks, he did say he wanted to pursue his options, but not as explicitly as he did on Thursday — which just so happened to be a day when his name was prominently involved in a potential trade for Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.

“I mean, it’s a crazy business, first of all. At the end of the day, I want to play my season out,” Schroder said. “I think I said too, that I want to see my options. I for sure want to be a Laker. But I still want to see my options. Because after eight years, it’s my first time seeing what other people, other clubs, who’s got interest in me. That’s what I said too, but nobody mentioned that in the media. Everybody’s saying I just want to sign long-term with the Lakers. End of the day, that’s my last word on that. I want to see my options. But I want to be a Laker. So however y’all want to put it on Instagram, Twitter, whatever it is, that’s it.”

If the noise was a distraction, it didn’t show up on the court, where Schroder had 20 points and 11 assists.

2) Something has Trezz upset

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Like Schroder, Montrezl Harrell played a solid game with 20 points and eight rebounds, factoring heavily enough in the Lakers’ fourth-quarter comeback that he, like Schroder, actually finished with a plus-2 in the plus/minus column.

The Lakers lose their fourth straight, falling to the Philadelphia 76ers 109-101 on Thursday at Staples Center.

When asked about his mindset while fighting adversity, Harrell used his answer to go at the “haters,” which might include the media? Here’s what he said:

“I see and hear everything from social media, from outlets, people talking, fans, haters. I don’t really care, man. Once y’all really figure that out and actually that locked into your mindset, that I don’t really care about nothing that you say to me, we’ll be in a better world, man. Because at the end of the day, y’all not doing for my life. You’re not putting no money in my life, you’re not helping me get better at this game. You’re not providing any type of positivity toward my life.

“So say what you want, feel how you want about me. Just know that I don’t care. Because at the end of the day, I’m gonna keep fighting and working and playing to take care of my family. That’s just what it is.”

3) Speaking of Trezz rants

Dwight Howard came back to Staples Center and received his 2019-20 championship ring along with Danny Green, a nice moment for him that Howard quickly celebrated by getting ejected from the game.

Howard and Harrell tussled leading to double technical fouls, and shortly after, Howard again engaged with the Lakers’ backup center, which was Howard’s old job.

Harrell said he didn’t care about what happened … before showing that he cared.

“I’m not backing down from nobody, man. I don’t take that lightly. I don’t take none of that disrespect,” Harrell said. “You’re not gonna push me all around the court and just feel like you’re gonna big-boy me and just attack me or whatever. It’s not in my blood. It will never be in my blood. I don’t care what nobody feels about it, I don’t care who don’t like me, it is what it is, that’s just what it is.

“So that’s how I feel about that situation, and that’s where it’s gonna stay.”

4) THT’s moment

The Lakers ended up not making a trade on Thursday, their reluctance to include Talen Horton-Tucker in a deal another sign of their belief in the 20-year-old guard/forward hybrid (what he does is sorta unique).

Even though he struggled Thursday night, Horton-Tucker said he was happy to still be in Los Angeles, playing for a team that’s told him that they back him — and then showed it at the deadline.

“I feel like it’s just something I have to — I feel like — take it and carry it with [me]. Pride really,” he said. “Just being able to represent the Lakers is something I feel like every kid wants, To be able to be in this position is really good. I’m just trying to make the most of it.”

5) Long day

Even though the Lakers didn’t make a trade on Thursday, it wasn’t like a lot didn’t happen. Here’s a short list:

Marc Gasol returned and played 15 minutes after having contracted COVID-19 before the All-Star break.

— Frank Vogel said Anthony Davis is still “a ways away” from coming back.

— Kyle Kuzma went blond.

— The Lakers allowed some guests into Staples Center (with city permission).

—Green lit up his old team from three-point range. The 76ers almost blew a 18-point lead.

— And I asked an incredibly dumb question, asking Vogel if the lesson after the Lakers’ lousy third quarter was that the margins for error are smaller without LeBron James and Davis.

“Yes,” Vogel said. It was three letters more than my question deserved.


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