Dwight Howard appreciates crowd support during free throws

Every time he steps to the free throw line, Dwight Howard tries to force himself not to worry about his seemingly simple assignment.

Make a free throw.

If that’s what it takes for Howard to improve his marksmanship, then it hardly helps that the Lakers’ 105-96 victory Sunday over the Oklahoma City Thunder featuring the Staples Center crowd giving him loud cheers every time he went to the stripe.

“I’m happy they did it,” Howard said. “That was amazing. I’m happy I didn’t shoot an air ball. That would’ve been bad.”

Still, Howard’s mark still remained bad. He only shot 2 of 10 from the foul line.

“It’s more mental than anything,” Howard said. “I shoot millions of free throws in practice.”

According to a white board at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, Howard makes about 80 percent of his free throws. HE spends the majority of his time after morning shootarounds and practices working on his form. Howard’s also shown relative improvement in his free throw shooting from December (52.7) to January (58.9).

“They go in at practice,” Howard said. “I have to transfer that to the game and stop thinking about it so much.”

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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