Dwight Howard frustrated with the Lakers’ poor defense

NEW YORK — Dwight Howard mentions the refain after nearly every game.

“We have to help each other,” he said.

But the Lakers rarely do that.

Howard stresses that his three-time NBA Defensive player of the year credentials shouldn’t excuse the Lakers from shouldering the burden on him.

But they do.

“Everybody has to help on defense,” he said. “They can’t just expect me to be everywhere at all times.”

That’s because Howard’s still recovering from seven-month back surgery. That’s because the Lakers cough up 16.35 turnovers per game, the second worst mark in the league. That’s because the Lakers have fallen to 22nd place in total defense (99.52).

Howard insists his teammates aren’t leaving him out to dry intentionally. The Lakers just haven’t had a schedule conducive enough to much practice time to hone in rotations and on-court communications. Yet, underneath Howard’s calm demeanor reveals one frustrated player.

“I’m going to try to stay as patient as I can,” Howard said. “It’s frustrating, but I have to stay patient. We can’t let this take us out of what we’re trying to accomplish. I have to stay patient. It’s difficult, but we’ll get through it.”

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter.

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