The Orlando Magic caught fire in the fourth quarter to stun the Los Angeles Lakers 113-103 and get the better of former player Dwight Howard on Sunday.
In their first meeting since trading Howard to Los Angeles in the off-season, the struggling Magic surprised the Lakers by scoring 40 fourth-quarter points to snatch the road victory.
Arron Afflalo led the way with 30 points while Glen Davis added 23 and 12 rebounds to help Orlando (6-10) snap a three-game losing streak and win the battle against Howard.
“It means a lot to me,” Magic guard Jameer Nelson told reporters of the win. “We can all say it was just a basketball game, but we know (it wasn’t).”
Kobe Bryant tallied a game-high 34 points and Howard finished with 21 and 15 rebounds against his old team, but it was not enough to help the Lakers (8-9) under new coach Mike D’Antoni.
– Reported by Reuters
Howard had 21 points and 15 rebounds against his former team, but the rebuilding Magic rallied impressively with a 40-point fourth quarter for just their fourth win in 14 games, snapping a three-game skid. Orlando pulled the upset partly by intentionally fouling Howard, who went 9 for 21 at the line - including 7 for 14 in the fourth quarter.
The Magic made their decisive 12-2 run while Howard wasn’t helping the Lakers at the line in the final minutes, with Nelson and J.J. Redick hitting 3-pointers along the way…
Howard left the court after the game without shaking hands with the Magic - not that he has many close friends left in blue pinstripes anyway. Orlando has new coach Jacque Vaughn, a new front-office staff and just five players who played with Howard.
”Let Dwight be Dwight. If he wants to walk off the court, it’s cool,” said Davis, who overlapped with Howard only last season in Orlando. ”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.”
Kobe Bryant scored 34 points for the Lakers, who dropped to 3-4 under new coach Mike D’Antoni with another inconsistent performance featuring deficient defense. Metta World Peace scored 15 points and Pau Gasol added 11 for the Lakers, who went back to poor form just two nights after a 122-point effort in a blowout win over Denver.
– Reported by Greg Beacham of the Associated Press