I used to really like Dwight Howard. He even might have been my favorite player in the NBA. He was certainly in my top five, and maybe my favorite non-Laker. That was back when he was in Orlando. He turned into a crybaby before he was traded to LA, and as the only guy to look to on an injury-depleted roster, he got kicked out of the final game of the season, with the Lakers getting blown out at home.
To the surprise of no one, the Lakers were unceremoniously swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA playoffs. What might have been surprising, though, is that the Lakers didn't even give much of an effort in their two home games. They lost 120-89 in Game Three Friday night, and used that momentum to get pummeled 103-82 on Sunday, get swept, and get the heck out of Dodge.
Howard was in such a hurry, he could have left at halftime. He was ejected just over two minutes into the third quarter after garnering his second technical foul of the game for arguing with the officials. The odd thing about that play, was the call was on a player that fouled Howard. Dwight thought the call should have been made sooner, and was tossed.
Howard used to be a great guy to watch. He was a man-child. Not only could he dunk, and rebound, and block shots, but he made it look so easy, and he did it against the largest men you'll ever see on this planet. And not that this makes any difference, but he might be the only player in the league that isn't covered in tattoos. He proved that you don't need one to be a superstar in the league, and I admired him for that, too.
He's spent the last two years wanting a trade, but denying that he ever demanded a trade. One report said he would only play for the Knicks. He said he never said that, and on and on. He was finally dealt to the Lakers in a three-team deal, but did not sign a contract extension. This makes Howard a free agent. After all of this, and all of that, do the Lakers bring him back? Howard already left early, and abandoned his teammates. Maybe he just keep going.
Eye on LA: While the Lakers are out, the Clippers struggle. They won their first two home playoff games, but lost games three and four on the road. Game five is Tuesday at Staples...Tonight (Monday), the Dodgers trailed 12-0 after 4˝ innings and lost 12-2 at home to Colorado. The Angels blew a 6-1 lead at Oakland, and went extras. But hey, the Kings and Ducks both made the playoffs.
Laker Postscript: In an eerie camera shot near the end of the game, we got a look at celebrity row. All of the courtside seats between the benches—were empty.
Today's Headlines: NBA center Jason Collins has announced that he is gay, becoming the first male sports athlete in any major team sport to make that admission. Also, it appears the Kings are staying in Sacramento, after the NBA relocation committee made that unanimous recommendation. Good for both, and good luck to both.
Interleague Intrigue: Although the Tigers picked up a three-game sweep of the Braves, and struck them out something like 400 times, the Atlanta-Detroit series over the weekend has been one of the best interleague matchups so far. This week gives you Philadelphia at Cleveland during the week, and Tampa Bay at Colorado over the weekend. Midweek next week is crazy, with not one, not three, but five interleague games Tuesday through Thursday, all in National Legue parks—Seattle at Pittsburgh, Detroit at Washington (good matchup there), White Sox at Mets, Texas at Milwaukee, and Yankees at Colorado. Only one series follows that over the weekend—San Diego at Tampa Bay May 10-12.
One Is the Lonliest Number: A co-worker of mine (and frustrated Dodger fan) noted that himself, myself, and I'll add any of you reading, and Matt Kemp combined have as many home runs this season as Clayton Kershaw. One.
Gold Sox Countdown: We're under four weeks remaining until first pitch May 23, and the team has posted the roster on their website. Nick Hudson from Cal State East Bay, who pitched a no-hitter last year for the Sox, is returning along with outfielder Tommy Lininger. Brad Lohse, cousin of major leaguer Kyle Lohse will be on the pitching staff, and outfielder Steven Lozier, who literally ran into a car in the outfield last year (it was parked there as a promotion, deep in the right center power alley) as a member of the San Luis Obispo Rattlers, will patrol the outfield this year (with no cars parked out there) for the Gold Sox. The team will also keep their tradition of bringing in a couple of players from the Air Force Academy, who will also get some on-the-job training at Beale Air Force Base. Said manager Jack Johnson: “We will be young, fast, inexperienced, fiery, redshirts, transfers, a couple returners, future jet flyers but most importantly-not afraid to run through cars. You name it, we got it. Now let's play ball.”