Dwight Howard: Suns players told him they fouled “the crap out of him”

PHOENIX — A bizarro world opened up. And the reasons went beyond the Lakers losing to the Phoenix Suns mere days after collecting a signature victory over the Indiana Pacers despite Kobe Bryant’s absence for most of it.

This has to do with Dwight Howard’s performance. His 16-point performance on 6 -of-18 shooting included only a 3 of 12 mark from shots in the lane. Yet, Howard also hit two mid-range jumpers. Howard made 4 of 5 free throws, but he missed two open dunks and committed four turnovers.

What gives?

 “There was a lot of times where they were intentionally trying to foul and they weren’t called. They even said it, ‘I fouled the crap out of you on that play,’ and we’d just laugh about it,” Howard said. “But there’s nothing I can do but try not to say anything to the referees and just play through it.”

Howard didn’t bring this up on his own accord. A reporter did. Howard also hesitated out of fear of drawing a fan and creating a perception that he’s making excuses. Instead, he answered honestly to illustrate how he’s trying to combat such a challenge.

“A lot of stuff happened in the paint,” Howard. “For me, I just got to do my best and not say anything to the refs. I know it’s hard, but I’ll continue to talk to myself and push myself to leave the referees alone and hopefully they might look down there a couple times. But until then, I just got to keep fighting through it. If I don’t get a call, just keep going back down there and do the same thing.”

Howard also collected four fouls and had his shot blocked three times.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni offered another theory for Superman appearing in his own Bizarro world.
“I just think he kind of took it personal and tried to go at them and we need to do more pick-and-rolls, roll him into the post, get him out on the move to get the ball into him,” D’Antoni said. “We just kind of, because I think we’re tired, we just kind of got stuck in mud and tried to wrestle our way through it and it didn’t work and it didn’t look good either.”

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

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