Dwight Howard speaks up following Saturday’s practice

Usually, Dwight Howard spends the last part of practice working on his free-throw shooting. Instead, Howard spent the end of Saturday’s session addressing his teammates.

“I just told them (the Lakers front office) put this team together for a reason, and we all know how to play basketball,” Howard said. “We’ve all done special things in our career before, and it’s time to do it again. We’ve all been blessed to play with Kobe, but we all have talent, too, and we have to show it.”

D’Antoni said Pau Gasol will mostly run the offense in a facilitating role, but welcomed Howard’s assertiveness.

“When he speaks up, people listen,” D’Antoni said. “But it has to be collectively shared. And also people have to follow what he does on the floor.”

Howard downplayed whether Bryant’s injury could affect his decision to re-sign with the Lakers this offseason when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

“That’s for this summer,” Howard said. “The two games we have left and the playoffs is all that matters.”

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