Howard solid in return

The Dwight Howard Show got off to an earlier then expected start when the Lakers took on the Sacramento Kings Sunday night, registering a double double in the Laker loss.

Howard finished the game with 19 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and five turnovers.

Howard's game looked a lot like you would expect it to. He caught a ton of alley oops and lobs that sent him to the free throw line. One play (Howard's first bucket) that is going to be deadly is when Steve Nash and Howard work a pick and roll. Howard rolls to the basket as Nash flips a pass to Pau Gasol, who is at the top of the key, and Gasol then throws the lob to Howard for the alley-oop.

Gasol's passing makes that work. It is going to yield an open shot for someone. Maybe it will just be Gasol shooting 20 footers, which he can hit. Maybe it will create some space for Kobe Bryant to operate and maybe it will set Howard up for about 19 alley-oops a game.

The problem for the Lakers is how awful their bench is. It will matter some in the regular season, a lot during back to backs when the starting five needs rest, and less in the playoffs when the starting five is playing heavier minutes. It will also mean trouble if someone gets hurt, but I am sure the Lakers will take that risk given the firepower within that starting five.