Too much frustration surrounding his injuries, a diminished role and heightened expectations clouded Dwight Howard's mind.

So he used the NBA All-Star break to reassess his goals.

He talked with Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon about his play. Howard teamed with strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco to accelerate his conditioning progress. The Lakers center sat by himself thinking about what he needed to change.

Howard enters today's game against the Chicago Bulls averaging 15.44 points on 55 percent shooting, 14.11 rebounds and 2.44 blocks per game.

Those numbers actually are a decrease to his similar average (16.2 points on 57.4 percent shooting, 12.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game). But Howard has shown improvement in his conditioning, defense and pick-and-roll execution.

His progress since the All-Star break three weeks ago starts with his diet. He's stripped away candy in favor of Whole Foods.

"All the sugar is bad for us," Howard said. "It causes us to get fatigued."