Re­u­nion turns sour for Lak­ers’ Howard

Magic rally for road vic­tory as former team­mate fal­ters at the free-throw line.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS -

Dwight Howard wasn’t his usu­ally play­ful self in the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers’ locker room. He re­fused to an­swer cer­tain ques­tions and shared few per­sonal thoughts about his ugly re­u­nion with the vis­it­ing Or­lando Magic.

“It wasn’t emo­tional,” Howard said.

Maybe that was part of the prob­lem — and one rea­son the Magic left the re­u­nion with their big­gest win of the sea­son.

Ar­ron Af­flalo scored 30 points, Glen Davis added 23 points and 12 re­bounds, and the Magic beat Howard’s Lak­ers in their first game against their long­time cen­ter, 113103 on Sun­day night.

Howard had 21 points and 15 re­bounds against his former team, but the re­build­ing Magic ral­lied im­pres­sively with a 40point fourth quar­ter for just their fourth win in 14 games, snap­ping a three­game 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’s first few months with the Lak­ers haven’t gone the way he might have ex­pected af­ter the four-team, 12-player trade in Au­gust: a sub.500 record, a shock­ing coach­ing change, an in­jured point guard and an un­sightly am­pli­fi­ca­tion of Howard’s ca­reer­long woes at the freethrow line, where he has dropped to 46.5 per­cent (87 for 187) for the sea­son.

“As a team, our ef­fort wasn’t there,” Howard said. “We have to start the game with en­ergy and play the whole game the same way. We didn’t do that tonight, and they cap­i­tal­ized on it and they got a win.”

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.”

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.

Trail Blaz­ers 118, Bob­cats 112 (OT): LaMar­cus Aldridge had 25 points and 13 re­bounds, Luke Bab­bitt hit a pair of clutch 3-point­ers and vis­it­ing Port­land over­came an 18-point fourth quar­ter deficit.

The Blaz­ers trailed 9779 with 5:17 left in reg­u­la­tion, but sent it into over­time on Bab­bitt’s 3 with 22 sec­onds left.

Pis­tons 89, Cava­liers 79: Bran­don Knight scored 17 points, Kyle Sin­gler and Tayshaun Prince had 15 apiece and Detroit earned its fifth straight home win.

Detroit is 1-10 on the road but 5-3 at home, and the Pis­tons have re­cov­ered a bit af­ter los­ing their first eight games of the sea­son.

Hor­nets 102, Bucks 81: Ryan An­der­son scored 22 points, Robin Lopez added 21 and host New Or­leans won for only the sec­ond time in 11 games.

Lopez shot 8 of 10 from the field and made all five free throws he at­tempted. He also scored 11 straight points dur­ing a piv­otal 130 run in the third quar­ter that gave New Or­leans the lead for good.

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