Lakers center Dwight Howard scores 39 in Orlando

Dwight Howard scored a season-high 39 points, had 16 rebounds and was sent to the free throw line 39 times by his former team as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic, 106-97 on Tuesday night.

The victory came in Howard’s first return to Orlando since his drama-filled offseason trade to the Lakers. He endured a chorus of boos throughout, and tied his own NBA record for free throw attempts.

The majority of them came as the Magic tried to employ an intentional foul strategy. It backfired, though, as the All-Star center hit on 16 of 20 attempts in the second half.

The victory was the Lakers’ fourth straight.

Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 21 points. The Magic have lost three of their last four and haven’t won back-to-back games since December.

After a week of back-and-forth in the media following some perceived negative comments made about his former team during a television interview, Howard and Nelson spoke briefly just after the final buzzer and shook hands.

It was a light moment in what was mostly a hostile atmosphere.

Homemade signs jeering Howard with sentiments that said everything from ”Coward” to ”Kobe’s Kid” were sprinkled throughout the Amway Center stands.

Boos rained down on the All-Star center almost every time he touched the basketball. They were followed by louder cheers when he missed a free throw.

– Reported by Kyle Hightower of the Associated Press