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Dwight Howard stands out in Lakers’ preseason win as most stars rest

  • Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, left, shoots as Warriors guard Steph Curry defends during the first half of Monday’s preseason game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates a three pointer with Danny Green #14, David Stockton #19 and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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  • Steph Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors goes up for a layup after a rebound in front of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1, Dwight Howard #39 and David Stockton #19 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso, right, tries to shoot as Golden State Warriors guard Jacob Evans defends during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Anthony Davis #3, Kyle Kuzma #0 and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to play during the first half against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Head coach Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts on the sidelines during the first half against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee (7) shoots as Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson defends during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. McGee was charged with a charging foul on the play. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee dunks during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a the Laker offense during the first half against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Steph Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors dribbles in front of Dwight Howard #39 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Demetrius Jackson, left, shoots as Golden State Warriors guard Jacob Evans defends during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Steph Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by Alex Caruso #4 of the Los Angeles Lakers as Eric Paschall #7 looks to set a screen during the first half at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: JaVale McGee #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates his three pointer during the first half against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James sits on the bench during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Steph Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors grabs a rebound between Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 and Dwight Howard #39 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: JaVale McGee #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers reaches for a rebound between Kavion Pippen #31 and Jacob Evans #10 of the Golden State Warriors during a 104-98 Lakers preseason win at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Devontae Cacok, left, and center JaVale McGee, right, reach for a rebound along with Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Golden State Warriors forward Alfonzo McKinnie, left, goes after a rebound along with guard Stephen Curry, right, and Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee, center, during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Demetrius Jackson, left, shoots as Golden State Warriors forward Omari Spellman defends during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, front, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Devontae Cacok defends during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors laugh on the sidelines during a timeout in a 104-98 Lakers preseason win at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Steph Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors is fouled between Demetrius Jackson #20, Devontae Cacok #12 and JaVale McGee #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Steph Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors attempts a layup on in front of Devontae Cacok #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: LeBron James #23 and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers react behind Devontae Cacok #12 during a 104-98 preseason win over the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Zach Norvell Jr. #21 of the Los Angeles Lakers crosses over on Jordan Poole #3 of the Golden State Warriors during a 104-98 Lakers preseason win at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Zach Norvell Jr. #21 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket on Eric Paschall #7 of the Golden State Warriors, resulting in a Warriors foul, during a 104-98 Lakers preseason win at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Zach Norvell Jr. #21 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after a Golden State Warriors foul during a 104-98 Lakers preseason win at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Zach Norvell Jr. celebrates after scoring and drawing a foul during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 104-98. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James yawns as he sits on the bench during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 104-98. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee, left, and Golden State Warriors forward Marquese Chriss go after a loose ball during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 104-98. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Head coach Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers and head coach, Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors meet at the end of the game during a 104-98 Lakers preseason win at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Zach Norvell Jr., center, shoots as Golden State Warriors forward Glenn Robinson III defends during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 104-98. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Demetrius Jackson, right, shoots as Golden State Warriors Kevion Pippen defends during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 104-98. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Demetrius Jackson, right, celebrates along with forward Devontae Cacok after making a 3-point shot during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 104-98. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Kostas Antetokounmpo #37 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks past Jordan Poole #3 of the Golden State Warriors during a 104-98 Lakers preseason win at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, left, knocks the ball from the hands of Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 104-98. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: David Stockton #19 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts a pass to JaVale McGee #7 between Damion Lee #1 and Marquese Chriss #32 of the Golden State Warriors during a 104-98 Lakers preseason win at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Golden State Warriors guard Damion Lee, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard David Stockton defends during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 104-98. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: David Stockton #19 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles in front of Kavion Pippen #31 of the Golden State Warriors during a 104-98 Lakers preseason win at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Golden State Warriors forward Alfonzo McKinnie, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee defends during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 104-98. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: Kostas Antetokounmpo #37 of the Los Angeles Lakers scores in front of Kavion Pippen #31 and Juan Toscano-Anderson #95 of the Golden State Warriors during a 104-98 Lakers preseason win at Staples Center on October 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES — The last time Dwight Howard wore a Lakers jersey on the Staples Center court, he shuffled off into the tunnel with an ejection.

The bitter flavor of that 2012-13 season and its final moments – incidentally the last time this franchise went to the playoffs – has colored Howard’s legacy in Los Angeles. It’s kept skepticism high even as the big man, now 33, has promised he’s changed since he signed up for a second tour with the Lakers in August.

The only thing that could change that is how Howard plays, and wins, this time around. And even though the score didn’t matter in the Lakers’ 104-98 preseason victory over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, Howard began the steady work of changing his reputation.

“It’s kind of weird being back out there, but I’m very thankful to be playing with the Lakers again,” he said. “I’ve always loved this place, despite how it, I guess, ended the last time. I’ve never lost any love for the fans or people here. I love playing in this building.”

On a night when many veterans were laid up for jet-lag related rest following the China trip – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo, Danny Green and Avery Bradley among them – Howard was in the starting lineup. And he played the style that he’s spent the preseason promising: working the boards, playing defense and sharing the ball for a well-rounded 12-point, 13-rebound, four-steal night.

In a game featuring mostly reserves and G-League prospects, Howard’s first step felt like the most notable development.

There were also other twists: Such as since when does Howard pass? The center had six assists, something he’s only done seven times when the game counts. The career 60 percent free-throw shooter also earned most of his points at the line, going 8 for 10.

Howard cited a pregame conversation with fellow veteran Jared Dudley (who made his preseason debut) about, of all things, Howard’s last coach with the Lakers.

“It’s a quote Mike D’Antoni used to always to say, ‘The ball always finds energy when you move it,’” he said. “We just wanted to move the ball a lot, make sure everybody touched the ball, and good things happen that way.”

The Lakers’ other true standout was Zach Norvell Jr., a two-way contract player who has made an impact throughout training camp. Norvell racked of 22 points on 6-for-13 shooting, including a crossover move that left defender Jordan Poole stumbling to the hardwood. He also shot 7 for 8 from the free-throw line, contributing to a solid 30-for-39 night at the stripe for the Lakers.

Coach Frank Vogel called Norvell a natural scorer who has made an impression. Norvell was just happy to perform less than 48 hours after the Lakers had landed after a flight across the globe.

“It’s a part of the job,” he said. “Early on in this process, you understand you can’t have any excuses.”

These teams boast five combined players who were All-Stars last season, but Steph Curry was the only one who played. The two-time league MVP started out rusty but wound up with 17 points. Damion Lee had a team-high 18 points. The Warriors, renowned for their 3-point shooting prowess in recent years, were just 9 for 36 on long-range shots.

Guard D’Angelo Russell and forward Draymond Green both rested for the Warriors.

The Lakers improved to 2-2 in the preseason, with both wins coming against the Warriors. The remaining two games are also against Golden State, but there’s more to look forward to: James said prior to the game that he planned to play in Wednesday’s game at Staples Center.

Vogel was pleased that the Lakers didn’t need him.

“It doesn’t matter who’s in uniform: We’re trying to play to a standard,” he said. “Play a certain way, form an identity that we play harder than our opponent every night. … It wasn’t perfect, but I was proud of our guys after getting in at five in the morning and resting just one day to go out and compete the way they did.”

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