Dwight Howard left the Orlando Magic this past summer. Now he's simply happy his former team has left town. Unfortunately, the Magic took down the Los Angeles Lakers before they did so, defeating them 113-103 on Sunday night at the Staples Center.
"The way we lost the past three games, I'm sure our fans just wanted to see us win in general," said Magic guard Arron Afflalo, who came to Orlando in the four-team trade that sent Howard to the Lakers. "But for us to kick-start this road trip by playing well, against the Lakers in particular, they should be proud of that. It's a huge confidence boost for us."
Afflalo led the Magic (6-10) with 30 points, while Glen Davis added 23 points and 12 rebounds and Jameer Nelson recorded 19 points and 13 assists. Nikola Vucevic finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds and J.J. Redick notched 14 points and seven assists.
Los Angeles (8-9) got 34 points, seven rebounds, and five assists from Kobe Bryant, 21 points and 15 rebounds from Howard, 15 points from Metta World Peace, 11 points and seven rebounds from Pau Gasol, and 10 points from Antawn Jamison.
Orlando made 43 of 86 (50.0%) shots from the field compared to 36 of 86 (41.9%) for the Lakers, who outshot the visitors 6 of 17 (35.3%) to 8 of 23 (34.8%) from behind the three-point line. The Magic held a 19 of 20 (95.0%) to 25 of 39 (64.1%) advantage from the free throw line.
Speaking of the disparity from the charity stripe, Orlando went to the hack-a-Dwight strategy down the stretch, with its former center shooting 10 of 18 from the free throw line in the third and fourth quarters. For the game, Howard made just 9 of his 21 free throw attempts.
After the game, there appeared to be some bad blood, as Howard left without shaking hands with his old squad. Davis had this to say regarding Howard's actions:
"Let Dwight be Dwight. If he wants to walk off the court, it's cool. No hard feelings. He lost. I'd feel bad, too. I wouldn't want to shake nobody's hand. We weren't even really thinking about him. We just wanted to get this win. I didn't talk to him. I'm here to play basketball. I'm not here to be buddies."
Orlando remains in California tonight for a matchup with Golden State. Tip-off is set for 10:30 pm on FS Florida.
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