Dwight Howard had a debut to remember for the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday evening, finishing the game with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks on 8-of-12 shooting.
The dominant center was clearly ecstatic to get back on the court following back surgery and had his way with one of the best young big men in the league, DeMarcus Cousins. Here's what Howard had to say about his premiere in the gold and purple to the L.A. Daily News:
"I'm so thankful to be back on the court after coming off a serious surgery," Howard said. "I'm going to make the best of it."
Although the Lakers clearly still have work to do falling to 0-6 in the preseason with the 99-92 loss, the team showed glimpses of what it could be Sunday night.
With the Kings keying in on Howard, the rest of the floor seemed to open up for the Lakers as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace combined for 49 points while shooting over 50% from the field (16-of-31 combined). The team also registered 22 assists with Steve Nash and Gasol registering five each. Here's what Nash had to say about playing with Howard for the first time to ESPN LA after the game:
"He made the game easier for everyone...He's such a presence and takes up so much space when he just rolls to the basket. So, it's a gift to play with someone like that."
The Lakers now have two more exhibition games to work out the kinks before opening up the season on Tuesday, Oct. 30 against the Dallas Mavericks.