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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. shwankin33 - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Im a huge Orlando Magic fan and i was loving every minute of it! At one point towards the end, i caught myself actually feeling sorry for the guy. The whole bench was laughing at him.

  2. pantsfreezone - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Dwight, you chose poorly.

    • chitownmatt - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      Yeah, but who says he’s stayin’ ???

  3. magicbucs - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Well written Brett….

    Its great to be a magic fan right now.
    The better TEAM won tonight. The magic outplayed, out hustled and out coached the lakers and made dwight look like a punk in the process. Nik Vucevic also outplayed Dwight and the magic played great TEAM Defense..


    • jedifriedchicken - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:03 AM

      The Magic are a bad team that had a good night. Nothing more.

    • bigmeechy74 - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM

      I hate the Lakers and I think this game was hilarious but please don’t act like the magic are a good team. You don’t really think they are good, do you?

  4. ihavenonickname - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    “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.”

    Incredibly misleading and dumb analysis of this stat. Did you bother to look up how many times Shaq accomplished this embarrassing feat during a CHAMPIONSHIP season??!

  5. camnellum12 - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    Although Dwight will always get his 20+-15-3, he will always shoot the Lakers out of a game at the line. I hope he realizes that he has to give up his ego and allow Pau to play on the block as well, in order for LA to succeed. Whenever teams start hacking Dwight, he needs to be taken out, and D’Antoni should put Pau at the 5, and let Jamison or Jordan Hill play the 4. It makes me cringe as a Laker fan seeing Pau having to face up all game, while Dwight gets his number, yet screws the Lakers over at the same time. D’Antoni, draw something up for Pau as well!

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:20 AM

      Pau ain’t much better with the game on the line, while at the line. He has a pechant for making 1-2 during those situations, as good of a FT shooter as he is regularly….then again, that still is 50% better then what Dwight gives us! FML

    • badintent - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:37 AM

      FOURTH QUARTER. GASOL AT THE 5 EVERY NIGHT. Hack -a-Howard is gonna knocked them out in the first round.87-187, are you kidding me ! Most HIGH school players shoot better than that crap. At least Shaq had serious scar tissue issues from a badly broken wrist, what ‘s Howard excuse. The rim is made of Kyptonite ? Call Rick Barry to teach the chump how to make free throws under hand..

  6. 00maltliquor - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    I f’ing knew the Lakers were gonna lose this game! I just knew it! Uuugggh…so frustrating. And they were given a -12 point spread! Yeah rigggght! This had all the makings of a classic LA loss… at home, -12, against a dog-a$$ team of epic porportions like the Magic, after a feel-good win the game before. F I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this stupid movie before. Doesn’t matter who the coach is, who the player personnel is, what year it is, Lakers always have games like this where they play down to the level of competition! It’s as predictable as the Raiders and their penalties every freakin’ year no matter the personel, players or coaches.

    It’s all good though, it’s gonna make winning the Larry O’ that much more sweeter this season.

  7. godfather8775 - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:14 AM

    I would put Gasol at the 5 and Howard as a 4…. I do not think Howard is a true 5

    • camnellum12 - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:49 AM

      He came into the NBA as a 4. He patterned his game after Kevin Garnett coming outta HS.

  8. mrcuret - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Man! the Lakers just suck. Plain & simple Lol. Good win for the Magic they really wanted to win this game, they tore the Lakers a new one tonight. And if that was against the Magic I already feel sorry for them when they go against Utah, OKC & NY. They’re gonna get violated this week & they don’t even know it. Lol

  9. magicbucs - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Gasol was out of the game cause he wasn’t playing any defense. Not that much of the lakers were either lol the magic destroyed Dwight on the pick n roll with jameer and Nik Vucevic. Love all them dunks for Nik rolling to the hoop..

    When d12 was with the magic, teams tried the hack a Howard at times. Some how most of those times Dwight would start making his FTs after a few times and they would stop fouling him. Too much pressure now I guess lol

    Lakers you wanted him, well you got him. Good luck answering to KARMA
    Anyone seen lakerluvr?

  10. abchome - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    The current Mike’s rotation is just as unfathomable as the previous Mike’s!

  11. dko83 - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    It’s late, am I reading this right? Magic beat the Lakers tonight? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  12. 32magicman - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    Thanks orlando for giving every team in the league the blueprint for beating LA.

  13. davidly - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:29 AM

    Howard is supposed to to brick free throws; that’s what he does. It’s not like the Lakers could have been thinking: Gee, he’ll improve in that category as soon as he returns from major back surgery.

    The Lakers’ problem is what everybody said it would be: They got too many points dropped on them again. As far as the Magic being a crappy team: They are relatively young pro basketball players with plenty of NBA experience and they got those points via 34 assists.

    There is no doubt that LA “has talent”, but there are 65 games left. How many of those games do you expect LA not to fail to bring the intensity defensively?

  14. themagicfanguy - Dec 3, 2012 at 6:21 AM

    “The Magic are a bad team that had a good night. Nothing more.”

    The Lakers are a bad team that had a bad night. Plenty more.

    • spthegr8 - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      Congratulations you won a regular season game. Look @ how excited ALL you magic fan’s get over ONE, that’s right just ONE regular season victory over the Laker’s. You would think you just won the final’s. Something that your PATHETIC lil franchise, IS YET TOO DO!!!! Have your lil celebration, I see it means sooooo much too you all, as SAD as it may be. We will see who is talkin SH*T in June!!!! When it count’s, something you guy’s wouldn’t know anything about!!

      • pantsfreezone - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        I think the big difference is that the Magic are a young team outside of Jameer Nelson with plenty of draft picks and options while the Lakers are old…so very old. I think in 3 years the Magic will be in a better place than the Lakers who are fairly hamstrung especially if Howard decides that LA isn’t right for him.

  15. themagicfanguy - Dec 3, 2012 at 6:23 AM

    It was a good game by the Magic, maybe now some of the people who called me crazy for saying we did okay on the Dwight trade will think again lol. Afflalo is showing what he can do!

  16. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 3, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    Not so easy is it, Lakers?

    • tsi431 - Dec 3, 2012 at 7:37 AM

      This coming from a fan of a team with a .375 winning percentage. Bwhaaaaa

      • slowclyde86 - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:15 AM

        And THIS coming from a fan of a defective, poorly designed, aged, supposed super team with no chance at a title.. Bwhaaaaaaaa!

      • brutl - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM

        Pretty sure dude follows the Heat, which makes sense if you take his comment in that context.

  17. chicagofan - Dec 3, 2012 at 6:33 AM

    Have 2 coaches ever been fired before the season was half over? D’Antoni’s defense sucks and the offense is not enough. Go back to the triangle.

    • tsi431 - Dec 3, 2012 at 7:35 AM

      Actually the Lakers are in the top half in defense. Just .13 ppg more then Orlando. Not too shabby for a “bad” defensive team.
      Once they get a PG back Nash or Blake, it will all change. Howard can go to the bench more, especially in the 4th.

      • pantsfreezone - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        Did you seriously just say that things will change when STEVE BLAKE returns? Okay, I’m not going to read another one of your posts ever because you obviously know about as much about basketball as a slug.

  18. eerock41 - Dec 3, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    anytime the lakers lose is a good day, but to loss to the magic the way they did. Now that made it a great night. That was a great win for the magic.

  19. blarry21 - Dec 3, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Hahahaha. I can’t stand Dwight Howard. I love it.

  20. ogre2010 - Dec 3, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    As a Magic Fan, we don’t want you back!!!

  21. paulhargis53 - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    The lakers will make the playoffs, don’t you worry! As the 8th seed! Out in the 1st round…..

  22. themagicfanguy - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    Hmm… I don’t see the usual laker fans on here for some reason. No lakerluver? No Bozo?
    … Wonder why?

    • bozosforall - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      Unlike you, I have a real life, themagicfagguy. Come back once your team has even one title.

    • eerock41 - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:58 AM

      because La got embarrassed by orlando. hahahaha

  23. paulhargis53 - Dec 3, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    themagicfanguy: lakerluver and bozosforall are one and the same person.

    You don’t see “them” after losses much.
    “They” are just that type of detestable fan.
    Loudest mouth when they win, disappear after a loss.

  24. granadafan - Dec 3, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Even Shaq is laughing at Howard’s inability to shoot free throws.

  25. omniusprime - Dec 3, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Last night’s despicable loss is all Dumbtoni’s fault for his pisspoor coaching. Watching the lowlights of the game I was stunned to see Gasol riding the pine in the 4th while Howard was playing and getting fouled every possession. Only the King of the Kingdom of Idiots would have left Howard in and left Pau out in the cold. Dumbtoni wasn’t even smart enough to realize he had to switch Howard out for Gasol until the two minute mark when they couldn’t play the Hack-a-Howard defense for the final two minutes of the game.

    This proves that Dumbtoni is the most incompetent coach in the NBA, following in the steps of the then most ignorant coach in the NBA Clueless Clown Brown. Will Daddy Buss please wake up and fire his worthless little idiot buss boy and replace him with his far smarter sister Jeanie. Geez just think how awesome the Lakers would be playing right now if we had Phil Jackson as our coach.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! We Want Phil!!!

    • eerock41 - Dec 3, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      at omni you what Phil as your head coach. You play for the Lakers?

    • rodyaugu - Dec 3, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      Like it or not, D’Antoni made the right decision. Late in fourth quarter you go with your best defensive lineup. If you watched the whole game you probably noticed that Gasol played soft on both ends. That’s the reason D’Antoni took him out, even with the magic constantly fouling Howard. He gave them the best chance of winning. Unfortunately for the Lakers Howard was probably as terrible as Gasol on defense.

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