Last weekend, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Gregg Popovich yelled at and rained f-bombs down on Dwight Howard during the All-Star game due to the center’s lack of focus in the game. Not surprisingly, Howard has denied that report, insisting on Friday night that it “just never happened.” Instead, he says the exchange had to do with confusion over whether it was supposed to be him or Blake Griffin involved with a play.
“Pop was diagramming a play for me, and then as he showed us what to do he kept saying, ‘Blake,’” Howard said according to the LA Times. “So Blake and I are confused, but he keeps saying Blake, so Blake takes off his jersey and goes into the game.
“Pop sees me and wants to know why I’m not in the game running the play, so I tell him he kept saying Blake so Blake went in. He wasn’t swearing at me.”
While it makes sense that Howard would deny that Pop swore at him even if it were true, we also have to consider the source. Stephen A. Smith has a flare for the dramatic, to say the least. It would be easy to believe that Howard was dogging it during the game, but it’s also not difficult to imagine Stephen A. exaggerating.
“It hurts me, but what can I do about it?” Howard asked. “I can’t fight ESPN.”
I’d be interested to see what Pop has to say. The important thing for the Lakers is that Howard has ben dominating the glass and putting up points over the past several games. Some people feel as though Popovich may have helped motivate Dwight, but it doesn’t really matter. If L.A. wants to make the playoffs, they’ll need Howard to continue his improved play.Google+