Dwight Howard had every reason to be upset after the Los Angeles Lakers 109-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

All he's supposed to do is play defense, right?

Lock up the middle of the key, protect the rim, cover up his teammates' mistakes. Well, he did that Sunday. He has been doing that ever since he looked himself in the mirror over the All-Star break and realized he needed to start delivering at that end of the floor.

The offense, the smiling, the dunks are extras. Nice when the Lakers have the time or the latitude in the standings for him to have fun with such things. But right now, with the Lakers fighting to salvage what's left of this disappointing season, the only thing that matters is defense.

Howard did that Sunday. He protected the rim, he intimidated shots, he got back on defense instead of trying to crash the offensive boards.

It was his teammates who regressed on this day. The Lakers' transition defense was horrendous again. Their rotations were slow or ineffective. And the Clippers exploited every one of their failings again and again.