The Los Angeles Lakers were missing center Dwight Howard and forward Metta World Peace when they faced the surging Brooklyn Nets. No matter.
The Lakers held the Nets to less than 40 percent shooting and won 92-83 on Tuesday night. After a dismal start, the Lakers have now won three straight and six of their last seven to crawl back toward the playoff race.
In the game, the Lakers called on Antawn Jamison to take over for World Peace, who was suspended one game for a tussle with Brandon Knight. Jamison made the go-ahead basket during a closing 14-3 run for the Lakers, ESPN noted.
Howard, who missed his third straight game with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, made the decision to stay of the game.
“The decision on Howard’s status belonged to the center, and it was revealed under unusual circumstances.
“In what’s been a strange and stormy season for the Lakers, D’Antoni pronounced Howard doubtful at the morning shootaround, either unaware that Howard had already decided he wouldn’t play or unwilling to announce it. Howard spoke to reporters just minutes later, ruling himself out.”
With the Lakers struggling and internal problems with Howard, some fans and Lakers followers are calling for his trade, ESPN noted. Though the team has made no official announcement, Howard has been noncommittal in his statements, saying he is committed to the team for this year but not making guarantees for the future.
Howard replaced by Pau Gasol. But Gasol himself was injured with a little more than four minutes remaining, and was diagnosed by Nets doctors with a plantar fasciitis sprain.
The Lakers are back in action Thursday against the Boston Celtics.