The Lakers played the Sacramento Kings for the second time within the week and ended up getting payback for their embarrassing loss on Friday. Although, it did not come easy for this L.A. team. The Lakers had a slow first half and were at a deficit to the Kings. This has been a big problem for the Lakers as they start each game off with low intensity and then slowly build momentum to take the lead.
Directly after the game, Dwight Howard spoke with Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell and talked about what was the biggest thing that allowed this L.A. team to win, especially after being down nine points at halftime.
"Defense, our defensive intensity picked up in the second half," said Howard.
"We made sure we got stops and then we was able to get out and our guys on offense was able to put the ball in the basket. It was a well-needed win and we got to play like this. More energy and effort, especially on the defensive end. We got to continue to talk and hopefully, we will get more wins like this."
This is one of the biggest issues the Lakers have faced so far this season. Many know that these players can score. The issue does not reside with the offense. What has been stopping this team from winning is their defense. They have struggled to make important stops, but they made sure to do that after halftime and held the Kings to only 33 points in the second half. If the Lakers continue to step up defensively, then they could see more wins, even without LeBron James.
Dwight Howard later added how he was told by Frank Vogel that he would not be playing much of Tuesday night's matchup, but that seemed to change quickly. Howard played for 35 minutes, scored 12 points, and had 13 rebounds.
This is a big step towards improvement for the Lakers. Even though towards the beginning it seemed that all hope was lost, L.A. made sure to come back and remind them who they are.