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Magic get ultimate revenge on Dwight Howard, beating the Lakers and humiliating him in the process

Dec 3, 2012, 12:47 AM EDT

Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, J.J. Redick

There really is nothing that could happen in one game for the Orlando Magic that could possibly make up for what Dwight Howard put them through a season ago, considering the way he forced his way out of town and left the franchise in a full-blown rebuilding situation.

But for a single night, the Magic and their fans got everything they could have asked for.

Orlando not only beat the Lakers in Los Angeles, but did so by humiliating Howard in the process. A 40-point fourth quarter and some timely missed free throws from Dwight powered the Magic to a 113-103 win at Staples Center, a result that dropped the Lakers to a record of just eight wins against nine losses on the season.

The loss part wasn’t so surprising if you’ve watched the Lakers at all this season. In games where they’ve failed to bring the intensity defensively from the very start, lesser talented teams have been able to hang around and gain confidence to the point where it becomes too late to stop them.

Howard’s performance on the night was a bit of a surprise, however, and the team seemed to take his lead a bit from an energy standpoint. It’s not as if Howard had any reason to ratchet up his game against his former team after the way he did them, as he clearly got what he wanted while Orlando was left trying to pick up the pieces. But still, an above average energy level would have been nice.

Instead, Howard managed 21 points and 15 rebounds on 6-of-13 shooting. That may seem like a good game, until you realize that seven of those rebounds came in the first quarter, and nine of those points were scored in the fourth quarter — and seven of those came at the free throw line.

Ah, yes. The free throws.

Howard finished the night 9-for-21 from the foul line, good for just 42.9 percent. He’s the first Laker to attempt more than 20 free throws while making less than 50 percent since Shaquille O’Neal back in 2004, according to ESPN Stats and Information. That was a non-championship year for the Lakers, and Shaq’s final one in Los Angeles, so it’s not exactly a statistic you want to see duplicated if you’re the Lakers.

More important than the sheer volume of Howard’s free throw misses was the way that they came, which was after the Magic went to the strategy of intentionally fouling him at various times throughout the night. Your math may vary depending on which side of the Hack-A-[blank] argument you come out on, but there’s no denying that if missed free throws by the target of the strategy on one end are followed by made threes by the team doing the fouling on the other, it’s unbeatable. And that’s pretty much how it went for Orlando in the fourth quarter of this one.

The Lakers did some curious things with their rotations, getting Devin Ebanks some random minutes for no apparent reason, while Jordan Hill — an energy player who actually might have helped on this night — received a DNP-CD. Jodie Meeks, he of the seven three-pointers in Friday night’s win over the Nuggets, similarly was used sparingly to the tune of just nine minutes off the bench.

The Magic got solid performances all around, led by a 30-point, five-rebound, five-assist night from Arron Afflalo, 23 points and 12 rebounds from Glen Davis, and 19 points and 13 assists from Jameer Nelson. But a reality check shows that this is a team that came into Sunday night at just 5-10 on the season; this wasn’t as much about the Magic’s strength as it was about the Lakers’ weakness.

As Dwight paraded to the line with his team trailing and continued to miss after the Magic continued to put him there on purpose, his former fans in Orlando must have been beside themselves with glee. They deserve it, too. While the damage Howard did to the franchise will quite literally take multiple seasons to repair, the very least the Magic can do is make the limited time they spend with him in the future as miserable as possible.

  1. magicbucs - Dec 3, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    When nash comes back the defense will get worse. Nash couldnt guard a sloth

    Also, you’re telling me that with Dwight the lakers defense is about the same as the rebuilding magic? That’s not a good thing for the lakers. D12 with the magic were always at the top. Top 3 at worst.
    Lakers suck plain and simple. At .500 they will not make the playoffs in the west.

  2. paulhargis53 - Dec 3, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    omni: You get on me for what I type. Yet, day after day, post after post is the same thing from you……WE GET IT.

  3. klownboy - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Hey Lakers fans, how is that Mike D’Antoni hire working for ya?

  4. money2long - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    orlando won their championship last night.
    la wants to win their’s in june.
    the season is a marathon, not a sprint.
    the lakers are still figuring it out.
    the best part about all the hate is when the lakers start winning, all these negative comments about them just mean they actually DIDN’T have an easy road.
    so for those of you trolls out there that had the “well what did you expect with dwight, pau and kobe on the same team” ready in the holster if they won the chip at season’s end, now you can’t jump on that.

    with the celtics when they added KG, they had a BUNCH of close games, close call games, and made it to the playoffs and ended up winning. it wasn’t easy. the heat had many struggles and people even jumped off the bandwagon at numerous points throughout their first season. nothing is different with this lakers team. losing is a good thing. they know what to correct. also, it’s great that they are losing NOW rather than post-all star break.

    ah, the criticism is music.

    • vprkilr - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      I’m not a Celtics fan, but when they added KG & Ray Ray, didnt they actually start out something to the tune of 20-2 and on their way to a Championship?

      • eventhorizon04 - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        Yeah, he totally made that up.

        Lakers fans pre-season specifically said that their team would do great from the start, like the 2008 Celtics after their trade for KG and Allen, because Nash and Howard were “complementary” pieces that didn’t have overlapping roles (in theory).

        Miami Heat did struggle from the beginning, but not the Celtics.

      • money2long - Dec 3, 2012 at 10:56 PM


        guys, i did NOT make anything up.

        i never said they lost their games (celtics).
        i just said they had close games. as in, it wasn’t easy even with all their stars.

        haha at me making things up. i never said they lost. 20-2, someone check their boxscores and see how many close games they had where they were expected to roll through teams, yet found themselves fighting to the end.

        i don’t make things up, my point with the celtics was that even with their talent and how they were expected to have an easy road, they still had to sweat games out. wow

        u guys actually made me have to sign in to clear that up. never again insinuate my name with making something up. i would appreciate that.

        all you thumbs downers, i forgive u.

    • eerock41 - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      is losing by 10 a close call game?

  5. wsuperman4445 - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    At “money2long” I know that teams need to jel and work out the kinks, but when you look at Miami the first year that the “big Three” got together there record was still far above what we are seeing now with the Lakers. since one year ago when this super team was being formed we have seen 2 coaches with possibility another coach to come. Pau Gasol possible trade, Steve Nash injury with no return date in sight, the team is nowhere close to playing together. as a matter of fact they look worse than they did last year. the defense is suppose to be in the top 3 with Dwight and even on a bad day they should not be doing as bad as they are… they got beat by a team that was EXPECTED to lose and become the Bobcats building team of the year but so far are exceeding expectations so my point is I would be surprised with the west teams that are competing now, if the lakers make the playoffs and if they do they will be knocked out in the first round. for God sake even the warriors look good so far! and with teams now knowing to Hack a Howard in the Fourth quarter the Magic showing them how to do it right expect to see more Frustration from Dwight at missed Free throws and Kobe verbally kicking his ass!

  6. dysraw1 - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    how ironic

  7. paulhargis53 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    I did check boxscores:in order:

    17 out of 22 games they win by 10 or more points. They lost 2 games by a total of 7 points. 77% of those games were not close. Your revisionst history just got tossed out the window.

    I’d say your thumb downs were well deserved. You can aplogize at any time for being COMPLETELY wrong.
    No one ” besmirched”.your name, you did it to yourself.
    This what happens when you don’t do tour research before posting….

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 4, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      Aren’t you the one always claiming you don’t care how many thumbs-down you get? Then someone else gets them and they become worth mentioning. Adjust your skirt, your hypocrisy is showing.

    • money2long - Dec 4, 2012 at 10:59 AM

      sir, i am talking about a season long thing. nice of u to bring up the 20-2 start, but also, consider how many of those were in comeback fashion, or the score gets run up due to the Cs getting fouled in the end. FINAL scores do not tell the entire story. sir. watch the games. i watched many celtics games that year, and they had many games where they escaped with a win, rather than finding themselves taking things easy. u did not prove anything but supply numbers. smarter fans should know that. winning by 10 does not mean they had a comfortable game. how do you know they weren’t down by 20 to begin the 4th? use your brain more. you trying to prove me wrong when in fact i SAW these games. i know what happened. i have a friend who is a celtics fan who laughed at all the ways they would escape with wins that season. so please, do more research than supplying final scores. that does not tell the whole picture. it gives some insight, but like i said, you don’t know the outcome of that game. there are better ways to analyze a box score than just showing the final score. there are more numbers to it than point differential. that’s just common sense.

  8. paulhargis53 - Dec 4, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    The only reason I brought up the thumbs is because HE DID 1st.

    Reading comprehension: Look into it!

    Heighten your IQ, your ignorance is showing.

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