It wasn’t always a sure thing that Dwight Howard would join the Lakers in the NBA’s bubble.
More than two months in, he doesn’t exactly sound like a fan of it — other than the Lakers being eight wins away from what they came for: a championship.
“There’s really nothing to do. If I can be honest with you,” Howard told reporters Wednesday in his first public comments in almost two months, according to the OC Register. “There’s nowhere to go there’s no way to release anything, any feeling that you might have. It’s just like we’re stuck.”
It likely hasn’t helped that the 34-year-old Howard hasn’t played a whole lot, appearing in seven of the Lakers’ 10 games and averaging 6.6 points and 5.7 rebounds in 15.7 minutes. The three games the 6-foot-10 center did not play came in the last round against the small-ball Rockets. He could potentially have a bigger role against the Nuggets and their more formidable front court, led by Nikola Jokic, in the Western Conference Finals.
“I just try to bottle up all the negative energy and try to turn it into something positive when I step on the court or in the locker room or on the bench cheering for my teammates,” he said. “It’s very difficult when you’re not playing sometimes — or it’s very easy to sulk and be upset and try to find ways to blame everybody else, but I just thought a lot of positive things and the fact that we’re still winning and we all have our health and we have the opportunity to win the championship.”
Howard indicated he had also gotten a boost from having his 6-year-old son, David, recently join him in the bubble. Howard had been wavering about coming to the bubble after David’s mother, Melissa Rios, died in March, but players were allowed to bring family in after the first round of the playoffs.
“So, just try to find joy in the fact that I have my son with me,” he said. “The fact that all we have to do is win eight games to win a championship. So I just try to stay positive with everything. But it is extremely difficult, being in a location I can’t get out, can’t see family, friends. You just in the hotel. So that is very difficult, seeing the same walls every day. But at the end of the day … can’t allow it to really affect us too much, but it is extremely difficult.”