Rockets' Howard still hearing the boos in Los Angeles return

Tue Nov 5, 2013 2:33pm EST
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By Jahmal Corner

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dwight Howard may have left Los Angeles to join the Houston Rockets, but the big man still cannot escape his turbulent Lakers chapter.

A jilted fan base still ruing his California departure and questioning his motives for leaving greeted him on Monday as the Rockets faced the Los Angeles Clippers in Staples Center, where the Lakers also play their home games.

The Clippers battered the Rockets 137-118 and Howard bore the brunt of the blows in his first visit to the arena since he walked away from the Lakers as a free agent in the off-season.

The passionate crowd booed Howard from pregame warmups until the final buzzer, leaving the big man to wonder whether he had just played in front of "undercover Lakers fans."

He once again defended his decision to become a Rocket.

"Houston is a great place, this is a great team. I'm happy with where I'm at," Howard told reporters following the defeat. "Everybody should move forward. This is my life. I can't control what other people do with their lives."

Howard managed to play just 26 minutes against the Clippers due to early foul trouble and finished with 13 points and nine rebounds while the Rockets clearly missed his presence in surrendering a scoring explosion.

"Dwight is our anchor on the defensive end. It always helps to have him out there," said Houston coach Kevin McHale. "That never helps us (when he's in foul trouble)."   Continued...

Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) and Los Angeles Clippers center Byron Mullens (0) play for the rebound during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports