Dwight Howard began for the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday against the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals and had a quick effect.
He scored 12 points and included 11 bounce back in the Lakers’ 114-108 win. It was Howard’s high in sheets this postseason and erratic his high in points, and it likewise denoted his first double-double of the playoffs.
Howard did the vast majority of his harm early, setting up 8 points and 8 bounce back (remembering 4 for the offensive glass) in the first quarter, helping L.A. build a 37-30 lead after one.
“Dwight started going to the boards,” said Anthony Davis. “Kind of takes a lot of them.”
Denver dominated L.A. on the glass 44-25 in Game 3. Howard supplanted JaVale McGee in the primary unit to start the second half of that game, however it was past the point where it is possible to reverse the situation.
All things considered, Howard’s presence Tuesday, an unruly spell when he got four fouls in 14 minutes yet additionally went head to head with Denver’s Nikola Jokic any possibility he got, dazzled Lakers coach Frank Vogel.
“We lost Game 3. And in the loss, his energy was, to me, infectious,” Vogel said Thursday. “We knew what he could do in this matchup. We like to try to start the series with the lineups that we play throughout the season, and then you feel out the series. We know this is something we could always go to.”
Howard shot 5-for-6 in Game 4 and included a take and a help, while getting only two fouls. The Lakers outscored the Nuggets by seven in the 23 minutes he was on the court. Also, L.A. won the battle of the boards 41-33 on the night.
“Dwight was a beast,” said LeBron James. “Gave us opportunities when we missed shots … he was cleaning glass both offensively and defensively. Got us put-backs and was able to control the paint. We know we got smashed in the rebounding category in Game 3, so we wanted to do a better job in that. Dwight brought that physical presence. It was great for our ballclub.”
L.A. leads the Nuggets 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 5, which could gain Howard an outing to the NBA finals for the second time of his career and the first since 2009 when he was on the Orlando Magic playing against L.A., is Saturday.