Mar 12, 2013, 7:50 PM EDT
It was what everyone expected, what Dwight Howard had to expect going when he returned to the Amway Center Tuesday — Magic fans are still angry about how he forced his way out of town, they felt jilted and they looked at Tuesday as their cathartic outlet.
Those fans didn’t miss an opportunity. And this was not a mix of cheers and boos — it was all boos.
Some fans showed up wearing altered Howard jerseys — “Xs” taped over his number, one fan had the “H” in Howard converted to a “C.”
Howard was booed when he led the Lakers out for warm-ups. He was booed every time he touched the ball during lay-up lines (and Howard put on a dunking exhibition rather than lying low in the lines).
Howard even played along and playfully booed the fans back.
One guy interrupted the National Anthem to yell, “Dwight, you suck!” (Via Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.)
Howard was booed during the introductions (as you can see in the video above).
The boos got louder every time he touched the ball in the first quarter, but Howard played through it pretty well with six quick points on 3-of-4 shooting. He had a big block of Tobias Harris — they guy now wearing No. 12 in Orlando.
“Big Baby” Glen Davis was chirping from the Magic bench at Howard and the two of them had a running dialogue that we can’t reprint here.
By the end Howard had owned the game — he had 39 points and been sent to the line 39 times (tying an NBA record), but he hit 25 of those free throws and that propelled the Lakers win, 106-97.
Howard all day talked about trying to move on, saying that he loved Orlando and the fans but what happened in the past was in the past. He echoed that after the game. Of course, it was easier for him to say that with the Lakers having won and played well enough lately to put themselves back playoff chase.
Magic fans had not moved on yet and this was their chance to vent. They wanted to make sure he knew how they felt.
He did. Earlier in the day Howard talked about wanting to go out to dinner in Orlando but deciding to stay in and eat at his home in the area with his family. He knew the reaction in public.
Maybe that will die down in the coming years. But not on Tuesday night.
Mar 10, 2014, 7:07 PM EDT
The New York Knicks have deep ties with Creative Artists Agency. It’d be one thing if the Knicks just had good relationships with those agents and that led to them repeatedly signing their players. But the Knicks reportedly forced their coach, Mike Woodson, to join CAA. And above him, general manager Steve Mills and assistant…
Mar 10, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT
Phil Jackson seems destined for New York. I argue that’s a good thing… but only if Jackson has a Jedi mind trick that can keep James Dolan at bay.
Mar 10, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT
Kansas’ Joel Embiid — potentially the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft — has sought out a second opinion on his back injury. Just a reminder of why he should jump to the NBA rather than stay another year in college.
Mar 10, 2014, 4:05 PM EDT
As if his season hasn’t been a big enough disappointment, Cleveland’s No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett will miss at least 10 games with a knee strain.
Mar 10, 2014, 3:48 PM EDT
Nobody thinks Mike D’Antoni is the long term answer for the Lakers, but what is the point of switching out coaches this late in a lost season?
Mar 10, 2014, 3:07 PM EDT
All the buzz has Phil Jackson taking a front office job with the Knicks (he’s just deliberate in making decisions like this)… but nobody asked Carmelo what he thought? Really?
Mar 10, 2014, 2:41 PM EDT
With a number of top teams stumbling — Oklahoma City, Miami, Indiana — it is the Spurs who have gotten healthy and looked good going 6-0 since the end of the rodeo trip. The West now dominates the top of the rankings, the Sixers are looking to set records at the bottom. 1. Spurs (46-16,…
Mar 10, 2014, 1:49 PM EDT
Bulls fans have taken to chanting “M-V-P” when Joakim Noah heads to the free throw line — and he does not like it one bit.
Mar 10, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT
“Quick, 15-20 seconds, throw few punches, then referees jump in and break this thing up.”
Mar 10, 2014, 12:13 PM EDT
As a member of the Jazz, Al Jefferson once encouraged Utah fans to boo their own team. When he returned to Utah in December as a Charlotte Bobcat, Jazz fans cheered him. Now, another former Utah big man, Paul Millsap, is encouraging Jazz fans to boo him when he returns with the Atlanta Hawks. Paul…
Mar 10, 2014, 11:32 AM EDT
This 15-second sequence tells you all you need to know about the Rockets point guard.
Mar 10, 2014, 10:36 AM EDT
Who held the record previously? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Mar 10, 2014, 10:07 AM EDT
Dad was focused on the game just a l’il bit.
Mar 10, 2014, 9:35 AM EDT
Durant shooting even more – even if those extra shots are relatively inefficient – would make him more similar to history’s other high-end scorers. And that option remains on the table for him.
Mar 10, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT
Odds of a warm welcome by the fans? Zero.
Mar 10, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
The fewer the minutes for a team’s best players, the more likely teams are to be tanking and vice versa. Except in Detroit.
Mar 10, 2014, 12:59 AM EDT
A career-high 42 points on just 18 shots. Not bad.
Mar 10, 2014, 12:27 AM EDT
The mess in L.A. wasn’t so bad on Sunday.
Mar 9, 2014, 11:48 PM EDT
Houston a real contender in the West? Sure looks like it.
Mar 9, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
“With good teams, somebody sees somebody messing up, then you tell them. Straight up.”
- PBT Extra: Can Phil Jackson help right the ship in New York? 6
- Phil Jackson reportedly close to taking Knicks job, nobody asked Carmelo about it 32
- PBT Power Rankings: Tell me again how the Spurs are too old…. 11
- Sunday NBA grades: All hail the unstoppable Jodie Meeks 13
- Harden’s 17 fourth-quarter points spark Rockets’ comeback win (VIDEO) 12