Dwight Howard, shown battling Chicago's Joakim Noah on Monday, apologized… (Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated…)
MEMPHIS -- In an almost-empty locker room, Dwight Howard took accountability.
The Lakers center apologized for complaining about not getting enough touches and promised to improve his demeanor on the NBA's most underperforming team this season.
"It starts with me," he said Wednesday after the Lakers' morning shoot-around. "I have to be more of a player out there on the court and not worry about anything, not complain. Just do what I do best."
Howard was not happy after getting only five shots in the Lakers' 95-83 loss Monday to Chicago. He kept telling reporters to "look at the stat sheet" after the game.
"That was immature," he said Wednesday. "I shouldn't have done it.
"I've just got to go out there and dominate defensively and make it tough for teams. I just have to get back to doing that and not worry about the offense."
Some Lakers fans think Howard should be traded before the Feb. 21 deadline. He becomes a free agent July 1.
"I understand why they're saying that because they feel like I have an opportunity to just walk away," Howard said. "That is my choice at the end of the season but right now my focus is tonight and us doing something real special in L.A. We have that opportunity and we can't close the door on the opportunity that we have in front of us. We can turn this thing around."
Howard, however, would not commit to a future with the Lakers.
"We're not discussing that," he said. "Right now, our goal is to win. All I want to do is win. I have to put all my energy into winning and sacrifice whatever I have to do and humble myself."
Howard also tried to reset the team's expectations ahead of Wednesday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
"I think this will be the start of a new season for us tonight. Hopefully our effort and energy is where it needs to be," he said.
Of course, Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni used similar words in saying the team needed to restart its season last week. The Lakers (17-24) beat Cleveland and Milwaukee but have lost three in a row since then.
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