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T.J. SIMERS

What's wrong with the media? Just ask Dwight Howard

The Lakers center has gotten a bum rap from sports media talking trash and dispensing pablum. And that's just the half of it.

T.J. Simers

11:45 PM EST, February 23, 2013

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I have some things on my mind.

— The NFL combine is not one of them. I'd rather watch the wife's reality TV shows all night long and have her tell me about her day during the commercials.

— I'm big on "Skyfall," but the fact it's not one of the nominations for movie of the year makes a mockery of the Academy Awards.

— I'm also big on Dwight Howard and believe most Lakers fans and the media owe him an apology.

And let's begin with ESPN's screamer, Stephen A. Smith, who said this week that no one else has reported it, so he will: He said San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich had hit Howard with a number of obscenities for not paying attention in a team huddle at the All-Star game.

The story quickly spread. San Antonio Express-News columnist Buck Harvey, among others, repeated the Smith report and used it to heap more criticism on Howard.

Harvey never talked to Popovich but did report: "Spur assistants who were in the All-Star Game huddle in Houston say the incident has been overblown."

Howard said Friday night that what Smith had told everyone "just never happened."

"Pop was diagramming a play for me, and then as he showed us what to do he kept saying, 'Blake.' So Blake and I are confused, but he keeps saying Blake, so Blake takes off his jersey and goes into the game.

"Pop sees me and wants to know why I'm not in the game running the play, so I tell him he kept saying Blake so Blake went in. He wasn't swearing at me."

The report by Smith provided more ammunition, though, to those who insist Howard isn't as intense as he should be.

"It hurts me, but what can I do about it?" said Howard, who has averaged 19 points and 12.6 rebounds the last five games. "I can't fight ESPN."

I got fired by ESPN, so I understand.

— By the way, I'm not big on the media, and I would like to apologize for the media being so ridiculous, beginning with Kobe Bryant's guarantee the Lakers will make the playoffs.

Stop the presses, please.

What would you expect him to say? How can we make the playoffs with Mike D'Antoni as coach?

"It's not a question of if we make the playoffs," Kobe told Sports Illustrated. "We will."

Where's the news in Kobe saying what everyone would expect him to say?

And yet the local media went to every player Friday night wanting to know what he thought of Kobe's guarantee.

Why weren't they asking his teammates if they were disappointed in Kobe for not saying, "I'll retire if we don't make the playoffs."

Are you people really eating all this sports pablum?

How about the ESPN headline this past week? "Sources: Rondo available but trade unlikely."

Stunner. The guy is injured, out for the season, and it's news he's available and unlikely anyone wants him?

— I'm big on "Cat Ballou." Just saw it again, Lee Marvin won an Oscar, but he should have gotten two for his dual role. Amazing how a young Jane Fonda strikes a strong resemblance to Jeanie Buss. I'll bet Phil loves "Cat Ballou" as well.

— Almost forgot. I'm also down on folks who criticize Howard, who agree Howard's back and shoulder are hurting but still criticize him for not playing hard.

It's like co-workers who say they are sick but look fine so there are doubts about just how sick they are. It's not fair.

— The folks at Staples Center got Howard in a nutshell Friday night. The ball came his way just beyond the three-point line. He faked that he was going to shoot, giving everyone a big grin as he did so, then passed. A moment later he got the ball back, scored and was fouled.

I can't remember if he made the free throw, but I presume he missed. If I'm wrong, I'm just doing my Stephen A. Smith impersonation.

— It's interesting how John Ireland and his partner on the radio are always talking about how Howard and Kobe don't get along. And yet Ireland said he will pay me if I write ESPN's Ramona Shelburne should replace his partner. No need to pay just to state the obvious.

— I'm down on anyone who sings the national anthem and makes "wave" into a four-syllable word.

— I know I'm supposed to be big on the Dodgers, but I'm concerned they might turn out to be the Lakers.

I went to "Les Miserables" thinking it was a recap of the Dodgers' last few seasons. Talk about crying a tune, it was like being in the team's clubhouse.

We already have Carl Crawford bellyaching about his stay in Boston. We don't care.

This is L.A., but Adrian Gonzalez had to tell us how he was mistreated in Boston and Hanley Ramirez in Miami.

Throw in the head case that is Josh Beckett, the world according to Zack Greinke and Andre Ethier's me-first approach, and maybe the Dodgers really are the Lakers.

If so, does that make Ned Colletti Jim Buss?

Don Mattingly — D'Antoni?

The Dodgers can't fall apart, can they?

— I'm big on a friendly A.B. Jackson, who mans the Chick Hearn media room at Staples and who didn't see any of the Academy Award nominees.

"Last movie I saw was 'Jaws,'" he said. "Jaws 1."'

It scared a lot of people out of the water, but the theater?

t.j.simers@latimes.com