Lakers center Dwight Howard is fouled by Knicks forward Ronnie Brewer on… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
Dwight Howard wasn't happy with the NBA for fining him $35,000. He was also unhappy with himself.
"I've got to do a better job of keeping my composure, not getting frustrated, and also remember to play for my teammates at all times and stay on the right path," the Lakers center said Friday. "I've just got to continue to play through it, whatever it is, if the calls go my way or not my way. I've just got to find ways to affect the game and not let the game affect me."
Howard was hit with the fine a day after smacking Denver's Kenneth Faried on a third-quarter drive in the Lakers' 126-114 loss Wednesday. Howard was assessed a flagrant foul 2 and ejected.
On Friday he wasn't done with his self-critique.
"I've been a victim of that for a while, sucking into the calls -- me not getting calls -- so I'm frustrated and I watch other guys get calls," he said. "I can't allow it to affect me in a negative way to where I'm not playing hard and not doing what I can do and just dominate. When I allow those petty things to get to me, then it affects my teammates and we lose games."
"It was a lot for a foul," Howard said of the fine. "I'm happy I didn't get suspended. That's the biggest thing. Disappointed to be kicked out of the game. It's never happened since I've been in the NBA."
Howard now has three flagrant foul "points" under the NBA system that assigns one point for a flagrant foul and two points if the flagrant foul is especially severe. If a player reaches six flagrant foul points, he is suspended for a game.
"I really didn't know I had three. Oh, wow," Howard said. "I guess I've got to foul softer."
Howard hasn't had a great season compared with his past production. He is averaging 17.5 points and only 11.8 rebounds per game, which would be his lowest since his rookie season.
Howard, who had back surgery in April, has also been off defensively. He and Steve Nash had a brief tiff in the first quarter against Denver after JaVale McGee got past both of them for a dunk. Multiple media outlets reported it, not to mention Howard's ejection later in the game.
"When we first got here, Jerry West talked about that back in his day it was a little bit easier because there wasn't as much media attention like it is now and we have to be able to overcome that," Howard said. "Sometimes it is tough, especially when you're losing. You don't want to turn on the TV. You've got to be aware of what your friends and family and other people are saying but you can't get caught up into all that. It can be tough at times.
"Every little thing, it sticks out. If we mess up a play on defense or you miss a free throw, or whatever it may be, it just looks like it's the end of the world. But we have to move forward, remember that we have a goal in mind. It's still obtainable."
Meanwhile, Pau Gasol will play Friday night against Portland after being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. An MRI exam Thursday confirmed the source of the painful swelling on the underside of his foot.
"So far we've been managing the pain," Gasol said. "It hurts mostly in the mornings but it's still bothersome the rest of the day."
The pain in his foot has bothered him for a while, Gasol said, and was aggravated in the Denver game.
"I stepped on the guy who tripped me and didn't get the call, as usual," Gasol said jokingly. "I think it was [Kosta] Koufos. Those two free throws would have been good."
Lakers lose to the Nuggets, 126-114
Pau Gasol says the Lakers are 'on the right path'