Dwight Howard gets petulant, Lakers get bounced

Stuart Dezenhall Contributor
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The 2012-13 L.A. Lakers circus is finally over.

We can stop talking about the stars, the injuries, the coaching changes, everything.

With their second-straight loss at home by over 20 points to the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers will all find themselves watching the rest of the NBA playoffs from a couch.

The season seemed to end before it even got started. The team seemed to never have an ounce of chemistry.

Point guard Steve Nash and forward Pau Gasol both missed large chunks of time with injuries.

Center Dwight Howard fought through shoulder problems and his own childishness.

Kobe Bryant tried every which way to find answers but saw his season end before the playoffs with a torn Achilles.

They replaced their head coach with one not named Phil Jackson after just five games.

Their longtime owner, Dr. Jerry Buss, died in mid-February.

All in all, the season was a mess. A mess that was exemplified in last night’s blowout home loss.

The Lakers had to play without two of their four stars (Nash and Bryant). Their head coach Mike D’Antoni lost his 14th playoff game in his last 15. They were swept in the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 1967. The biggest baby in the league, Howard, picked up his second technical foul early in the third quarter to show his true colors – a player more concerned about his own stature than that of his team.

ESPN’s official loud mouth, Stephen A. Smith, summarized Howard’s antics perfectly last night, saying “The manner in which he conducted himself tonight, allowing himself to get ejected. I’m going to be the first to say this – it was a straight-up punk move. There is no other way to look at it…You can’t allow your team, you’re down 20, you’re down 0-3 in a series, to allow your team to go out on that floor without you for virtually the entire second half because you can’t keep your cool in a close-out game for the opposition on your home court when on the horizon you’re asking the Lakers to pay you $117 million.”

It was a troubled season in for the Lakers that came to an appropriately troubled conclusion, and one that could bring some major changes next year.

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