BOSTON -- So Mike D'Antoni, Kobe Bryant and everyone else wanted Dwight Howard to rush back. For this?
Talk about a pain in the shoulder.
The Lakers were trailing by 26 after three quarters to the hated Celtics, officially designating this as an embarrassment.
But whether it was punishment or conditioning, D'Antoni sent the fragile Howard back into this fiasco even though as Howard goes so go the Lakers' playoff chances.
The coaching staff thinks he's a big baby. But as much as Bryant needed Pau Gasol to arrive to win two more titles, he now needs Howard to be healthy and, maybe it's hard to believe, dominate.
Along the rocky way there will be all kinds of reports about who is happy and who is not, where Howard will play next season and ultimately whether Lakers fans care.
There will also be predictions of the end of the world if the Lakers struggle, so you know I'm getting ready to mention Magic.
As the leader of the rabble, it's usually up to Magic to set the agenda and speak the outlandish.
But Magic's priorities were a bit off Thursday. He was seemingly more interested in being with the president and tweeting about it than waxing crazy about the hapless Lakers.
So that left it to Shaq to sound ridiculous on behalf of former Lakers everywhere, and he let no one down.