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Blazers plan to use ‘Hack-a-Dwight’ strategy against Howard and the Lakers

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 30: Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers gestures to a referee after fouling out of the game with the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on October 30, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Mavericks won 99-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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After a dismal opening night performance at home in a loss to Dallas, the Lakers will take to the road for their second game in as many nights against a Blazers team that’s ready and waiting.

There was plenty wrong with L.A. on Tuesday -- the offense was horrid, and the defense (if you want to call it that) was even worse. Steve Nash had a rough outing trying to run the new offense instead of doing what he does best, and Dwight Howard fouled out, missed a couple of dunks we would normally expect him to convert, and shot a miserable 3-of-14 from the free throw line.

That last part is important, because just two games into the young season, a Lakers opponent is going to try to exploit that weakness to its advantage.

From The Columbian:

So after Howard goes 3 of 14 @ FT line in last nite’s opener, #blazers coach Terry Stotts says he will return 2 the line 2nite #HackADwight

— blazerbanter (@blazerbanter) October 31, 2012

Can you blame them?

Howard has such a physical advantage over most teams that he can post numbers even when not playing that well overall. And, still finding his way back to 100 percent from the back surgery he underwent over the summer, his athleticism isn’t fully there, and the team as a whole (Howard included) is still figuring out its defensive rotations.

WIth all of that being said, if you’re the Blazers starting an undersized front line of Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, and J.J. Hickson (as they did in the team’s preseason finale), you want Howard off the floor as much as possible.

Grinding the game to a halt and forcing him to shoot (and miss) a ton of free throws is certainly one way to get that desired result.