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Dwight Howard’s double-double in surprise start for Lakers draws praise from LeBron James, Frank Vogel

Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Frank Vogel, Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel decided to insert veteran big man Dwight Howard into the starting lineup on Thursday in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets. Howard responded with a huge performance for L.A., which drew the praise of his coach, as well as that of superstar teammate LeBron James.

When asked about Howard’s effort in the evening, LeBron had a simple response that hit the nail on the head:

“Dwight was a beast,” James said, via Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.

Dwight Howard made sure to make his first start of the postseason count. The 34-year-old finished with a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double, with an assist, a steal, and zero turnovers in just 23 minutes of action, as he helped the Lakers to a 114-108 victory.

Vogel was all praises for Howard, as the coach commended the big man’s energy:

“Dwight just brings energy,” Vogel said. “He fits what we want to embody.”

Even Nuggets head coach Michael Malone could not help but sing Howard’s praises. He acknowledged that his team was unable to hold down Howard in the opening period:

“Nobody touched him at all in that first quarter,” Malone said. “He could do whatever he wanted.”

Howard deserves a lot of credit here for coming up big for the Lakers. He barely played in the second round against the Houston Rockets, but he remained prepared waiting for his moment to come. It finally did on Thursday, and boy did he deliver.