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Dwight Howard warns Nikola Jokic of what to expect following return to Lakers rotation

Lakers, Nuggets, Dwight Howard, Nikola Jokic

Dwight Howard logged just 16 minutes on Friday for the Los Angeles Lakers, as they pummeled the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Despite his modest playing time, Howard played a key role for L.A.’s Game 1 victory, as he stifled Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic during their time together on the court.

After the game, Howard sent out a bit of a warning for Jokic, telling the big man about how he intends to be on him throughout this series:

“Well, he’s an awesome player and I loved watching his growth from when he came into the league until now,” Howard stated, via Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll. “For me, as soon as I step on the court, I want to let him know that I’m there. Since we’re staying in the same hotel, I might meet him outside his room and let him know that for the rest of the series I’m gonna be right there, locked on to you. It’s not nothing bad, it’s just competitive spirit inside me. I appreciate his hard work and dedication to the game, and this is a great opportunity for myself, so I’m going to take advantage of any moment I have on the floor, and give my teammates and Laker Nation 110 percent.”

Dwight Howard didn’t check in until the second quarter, and interestingly, he came on at the same time as Jokic did. Howard jumped on Jokic from the get-go, and the veteran got into Jokic’s head. The Nuggets center was whistled for two quick fouls and ended up sitting out the rest of the period. Clearly, Howard had a significant impact on disrupting Jokic’s flow on Friday.

Howard finished with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting, to go with three boards, two steals, and a block. The 34-year-old is no longer the stat sheet-stuffer he once was, but there’s no denying that his contributions for the Lakers go way beyond the box score.