Hack-a-Howard backfires as Lakers top Magic, 106-97
Lakers 106 - Magic 97 (Final)
Dwight Howard tied his own NBA record with 39 free-throw attempts as the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic, 106-97, on Tuesday.
Choosing to intentionally foul Howard throughout the game, the Magic committed 35 personal fouls, sending the Lakers to the line 47 times.
Howard, on his return to Orlando for the first time since he was traded to the Lakers, converted 25-of-39 attempts. He matched his own record-setting performance from 2012 with the Magic (in a win over the Golden State Warriors) when he made 21-of-39.
Howard led all scorers with 39 points along with 16 rebounds and three blocks.
The Lakers’ bench helped extend the lead in the fourth quarter with productive minutes from Antawn Jamison (10 points), Jodie Meeks (11 points) and Steve Blake (eight assists). The Lakers shot 46.6% from the field.
The Magic got 21 points from Jameer Nelson. They shot 39.8% from the field as a team. Tobias Harris and Arron Afflalo both had 17.
Kobe Bryant scored just 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting, but dished eight assists.
The Lakers improved to 34-31, pulling back into eighth place in the Western Conference. The Magic dip to 18-47.
Lakers 76 - Magic 68 (end of third quarter)
After giving up the lead to Orlando, the Lakers settled down to pull back ahead by as many as 12.
The Magic continued to foul Dwight Howard intentionally, sending him to the line for eight free-throw attempts. The Lakers center converted six for a total of 29 points with 13 rebounds. Through three quarters, Howard hit 15-27 from the line.
Tobias Harris led the Magic with 17 points as his team shot just 39.7% from the field.
Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash both scored 11.
Magic center Nikola Vucevic was able to play through a first-half foot/ankle injury.
Lakers 50 - Magic 46 (Halftime)
The Magic intentionally fouled Dwight Howard repeatedly in the second quarter, taking the Lakers out of their offense and forcing Howard to line. The Lakers’ 11-point lead dwindled to four by halftime.
Howard had 19 points and 10 rebounds, taking 17 free throws in the second quarter (making nine). Metta World Peace scored 13 while Kobe Bryant hit just one-of-seven shots for three points.
The Magic were led by 15 from Tobias Harris. Center Nikola Vucevic sat with a foot/ankle injury but Kyle O’Quinn came on to score four in his absence. Orlando hit just 37% from the field while the Lakers converted 47.4%.
Magic 23 - Lakers 22 (end of first quarter)
Dwight Howard made his debut in Orlando to a chorus of boos. Five minutes into the game, the former-Magic center threw down a huge dunk off a pass from Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers extended a lead to six before the Magic fought their way back. Howard scored six points in 8 1/2 minutes.
Tobias Harris led all scorers with eight points. Steve Nash had seven for the Lakers who shot 47.6% from the field as a team.
The Magic shot a paltry 29.2% from the field and yet finished ahead of the Lakers by one by virtue of five made free throws and four three-points.
The Lakers hit two threes but missed both free-throw attempts.
Dwight Howard makes his return to Orlando as the Lakers (33-31) visit the Magic (18-46) on Tuesday.
While the Magic are in 29th place overall, they’ll give the Lakers and Howard their best game in what should be an emotional night.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Magic.
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