The Los Angeles Lakers play better on American soil, it seems. Following back-to-back losses to the Brooklyn Nets in China, the Lakers handily beat the Golden State Warriors 104-98 on Monday thanks to an all-around game from Dwight Howard.
No, this isn’t a story from 2013.
Through three games in the preseason, Howard has rebounded the ball well, but he hasn’t been able to do much else at a high level. That wasn’t the case on Monday, as Howard tallied 12 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, four steals and a block.
Howard benefited from the spacing the spacing Jared Dudley provided in his debut, but he also just seems to be getting back into the swing of things after playing just nine games with the Washington Wizards last season. It also didn’t hurt that Howard was going up against Golden State’s feeble front court.
Nevertheless, Howard looked good, and even if he’s not going to look like Nikola Jokic for the rest of the season, it’s nice to see he’s capable of contributing to a team even without the type of explosiveness he used to have. Plus, he made eight of his 10 free-throw attempts.
Zach Norvell Jr. was also incredible for the Lakers on Monday, leading all scorers with 22 points on 46.2 percent shooting from the field, including 37.5 percent shooting from behind the arc. It wasn’t just the fact that he was making shots, though — it was how he was making them.
The Lakers have had success finding talent late in the draft in recent years, and it’s starting to look like Norvell could be their latest diamond in the rough. Whether it’s in the G League or the NBA, Norvell is going to be fun to watch this season.
The Lakers will take on the Golden State Warriors one last time on Wednesday, and that will put a bow on their 2019 preseason. Ever game they play after that will mean something, starting Tuesday, Oct. 22 against the LA Clippers.
Now, THAT is going to be fun.