As needed, Dwight Howard steps up

With a push from Shaq, center is giving Lakers what they need in playoff chase

Updated: April 3, 2013, 3:51 AM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- At the end of a very long night, near the end of a very long, very disappointing season, the Dallas Mavericks had one play left.

Hack Dwight Howard.

Challenge him. Put him on the free throw line with the season hanging in the balance for both teams, and make him and the Los Angeles Lakers earn it.

Yes, it's just eighth place in the Western Conference at stake. And yes, that's still an embarrassing reality for both franchises. But the time to dwell on that has long ...

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