Dwight Howard is shooting a career-worst 46.8 percent from the free throw line, and the Los Angeles Lakers' center went just 8-for-16 in Tuesday night's 107-105 loss to the Houston Rockets.

Howard missed five of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter as the Lakers squandered a double-digit lead.

Even so, both Howard and coach Mike D'Antoni adamantly said after the game that Howard's free throw shooting was not the main reason why the Lakers lost.

"That didn't lose us the game," Howard said of his free throw shooting. "Our defense wasn't there in the fourth quarter. We all have to communicate better."

As for the segment of Lakers fans pleading for him to remove Howard from close games down the stretch, D'Antoni scoffed: "They have no clue what they're talking about. ... You have a player that's going to be your franchise player and you don't do that to him — and it's not him who's causing the problem."

"He just has to keep working on it all the time," Kobe Bryant added. "... Turn it into a strength."