made his first return to L.A. this season. (Noah Graham/Getty Images)
Dwight Howard was subjected to merciless booing by Lakers fans in his Staples Center return on Wednesday, but his Rockets teammates helped him get the last laugh.
Houston crushed Los Angeles 134-108 in Howard's first game in the city since he signed with the Rockets in free agency after spending an ill-fated 2012-13 season with the Lakers. The All-Star big man scored 20 points (on 9-for-14 shooting), grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked three shots against the rag-tag Lakers squad, and he drew an angry reaction from the crowd, which chanted, "Howard sucks!"
After the game, the Rockets posted an Instagram video of Howard, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons mockingly chanting "Howard sucks!" on Houston's team plane.
"You suck Howard!" Howard screams about himself, as his teammates laugh. "You suck Howard!"
With Houston leading by more than 20 points in the third quarter, Howard could also be seen and heard saying "Howard sucks!" along with the crowd as he prepared to inbound the ball.
Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins has more from Howard's return to Hollywood.
Of course, Howard was booed during introductions, and again every time he touched the ball, standard fare for a free agent returning to a jilted locale. The Lakers may not acquire a first-round pick or significant salary-cap relief at this trading deadline, but at least they found somebody to blame. Howard's first road game against the Lakers provided an occasion to vent 15 months of frustration.
Howard, 28, decided to sign a four-year, $87.6 million contract with the Rockets in July after the Lakers launched a "Stay Dwight!" billboard campaign in hopes of re-signing him. Howard is averaging 18.9 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks this season and he was selected to his eighth consecutive All-Star Game.
Houston is the West's No. 3 with a record of 37-17 while L.A. is tied for the worst record in the conference at 18-36.
Video via YouTube user beyondthebuzzercom