Howard To Start For Lakers Over McGee

For the first time in the 2020 playoffs, Lakers center Dwight Howard will start tonight in a pivotal Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic (Twitter link). This also marks only Howard’s third start for the Lakers in the 2019/20 season overall. Los Angeles leads Denver 2-1. The official game broadcast is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. CST.

Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets that Lakers coach Frank Vogel still wants Howard to minimize fouling as he guards All-Star Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. Howard is averaging 4.3 fouls in just 14.4 minutes per game for the series. The more athletic Howard’s ability to pester Jokic and impede his passing likely earned him the nod over normal starting center JaVale McGee.

Howard started at center over McGee in the second half of Game 3 on Tuesday, a 114-106 loss for the Lakers. Goon noted in an article yesterday that the Lakers are scoring at a +20 plus-minus pace over Denver across Howard’s 43 minutes in the series, compared to -11 during McGee’s 31 minutes.

The last time McGee was benched in these playoffs, forward Markieff Morris started at center in his stead during the final two games of the Lakers’ second-round matchup with the Rockets. Howard played for just two games of that five-game series.

The 34-year-old Howard, a former three-time Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time All-Star, is in his second stint with the Lakers on a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract. He last played in the purple and gold during a tumultuous 2012/13 season, alongside fellow All-Stars Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash.

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26 thoughts on “Howard To Start For Lakers Over McGee

    • mlbnyyfan

      This isn’t desperation. LBJ has his easiest path to next Championship. I would be great however if his former team Miami wins this year.

    • Curtisrowe

      Desperation? I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    • Thronson5

      Someone’s still upset after getting handled by the Lakers last round lol. “Desperation” as if they have any reason to be desperate being up 2-1 lol. Oh and by the way…Dwight has 10 rebounds and 11 points at the half ;)

    • tjbarnaba

      Calling it desperate when the underlining numbers all support the move shows how little this person actually knows. This is why parents shouldn’t give their kids phones at such a young age. Go learn something little guy! Stop posting!

    • GoLandCrabs

      I love how you always talk bad about former Rockets players and coaches. Its never Hardens fault huh. Its all Howard, McHale, CP3 and D’antonis fault for Hardens failure. Once Westbrook gets traded it will be his fault too.

    • implant

      . Chasing down Murray, Dame and CJ ain’t easy. Thankfully we had a break in between

    • Lionel Muggeridge

      Really? If they’re desperate, what does that make the rockets?

    • Sign all the Cubans
      Sign all the Cubans

      Just because the Lakers didn’t need Howard against the Houston Midgets doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t be useful against a better team with actual tall people on it

  1. imindless

    Harden-westbrook is so salty. Gonna be interesting to see if he keeps that same user name when westbrook gets moved for a bag of Spaulding basketballs

    • nva84

      His troll level is 1000. So I give him credit. But no point in discussing with this clown

      • tjbarnaba

        There’s never a discussion with him. He drops in every post, says the most illogical, prepubescent stuff and moves on to the next post

    • implant

      They should move Harden. Westbrook is so much more valuable. Plus they will get more for Harden

  2. Chief Two Hands

    Howard and McGee have both been solid for the Lakers. Vogel utilizes them both well.

  3. bknowledge

    The Nuggets should be better next year with MPjr in the starting lineup and Wil Barton available. The Lakers have been basically giving Gary Harris and Torrey Craig wide open corner threes. Harris is shooting 26% in the series and Craig is 1 for 9 on threes.
    Denver can’t keep starting 2 players who are so bad on offense if they want to be a championship contender.

    • x%sure

      Porter gets into the doghouse for doing stupid or selfish things.
      TV teams have not called him out, nor HC Malone for sitting him.
      Malone has shown discipline that is either impressive or foolish given the stakes… actually that could be said for Porter too! His shots are pure. If Malone wanted too, he could leave Porter in and tell teammates to feed the monster and he gets 30. And, probably a loss.

      • bknowledge

        I agree with what you’re saying. He’s super-talented but he makes mistakes/he doesn’t always pay attention/he loses focus. Incorporating MPjr into the team effectively next year will be the huge challenge. Will MPjr be willing to be a team player/the third star? Or will he want to turn himself into the sun around which the team revolves, a one-on-one isolation superstar?

        • El Don

          Of course MPJ makes mistakes, he should, he is a rookie, rookie make mistakes, regardless of their team trying to get into the finals! Jeez, if he didn’t make mistakes would be the best rookie in the history of the game!
          But as I said since way before he got drafted this guy will be a superstar! & so far this season he has proven that he can do it, that’s for sure!

        • x%sure

          Malone is taking a big risk by holding him back. I’m not sure MPJ gives up more than he gets but Malone wants him to handle details willingly to get minutes, even though he can get unstoppable.
          IDK why the media ignores the conflict… maybe out of their own generosity. But an announcer could say “Porter hustling back on defense” and it’s already funny. I see him directing veterans and he’s not keeping up himself.

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