(Sports Network) - Dwight Howard was a six-time All-Star and captured NBA
Defensive Player of the Year three straight times as the centerpiece of the
Following a tumultuous and public divorce with the Magic, Howard found a new
home with the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team deal over the summer and gets
a crack at his former club Sunday night at Staples Center.
Howard averaged 18.4 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.16 blocks in 621 games since
the Magic selected him with the first overall pick of the 2004 draft.
"Dwight Howard accomplished tremendous success on and off the court during his
eight years in Orlando," Magic GM Rob Hennigan said at the time of the deal.
The chiseled center is currently posting averages of 18.6 points, 11.1 boards
and 2.81 blocks for the Lakers, who will close out a three-game homestand
Sunday and are 7-4 as the host. In Friday's 122-103 victory over the Denver
Nuggets, Howard was a beast with 28 points and 20 rebounds. It was the 42nd
20-point, 20-rebound game of his career.
Antawn Jamison scored a game-high 33 points and Kobe Bryant ended with 14 in
the win. L.A. led by as many as 21 and had a 61-47 advantage in bench points.
The Lakers stole the show from beyond the arc, knocking down 17-of-33 3-
pointers (51.5 percent).
"It was a total team effort," said Lakers reserve guard Jodie Meeks, who
buried seven 3-pointers for 21 points. "I thought I played pretty well,
knocked down open shots, and played hard."
The Lakers, 7-4 at home and third in the Pacific Division, tied a franchise
regular-season record in a regulation game with 17 successful shots from
downtown and improved to 3-3 under coach Mike D'Antoni.
Los Angeles has won two of three games and was coming off a loss to Indiana in
which it registered just 77 points (79-77). The Lakers had 71 points in the
first half versus the Nuggets, whose 16 turnovers led to 24 L.A. points.
Following Sunday's game versus the Magic, D'Antoni's squad will play three
straight and seven of eight games on the road. In other team news, Metta World
Peace is two 3-pointers shy of 1,000 in his career. He's also 33 points short
of 12,000 and six rebounds away from 4,000 for his career.
Orlando just went 2-3 on a five-game homestand and will begin a five-game
western trek Sunday against the Lakers, Warriors, Jazz, Kings and Suns.
The Magic suffered their third straight loss with Friday's 98-86 setback to
the Brooklyn Nets as Glen Davis scored a team-high 16 points and E'Tuwan Moore
added 13 points. Andrew Nicholson and Nikola Vucevic, who was involved in the
deal for Howard, both had 12 points.
"We had great effort and energy at the beginning of the game," Magic coach
Jacque Vaughn said. "But, we have to get to a point where that is sustained
for 48 minutes."
Orlando trailed by as many as 20 points during the second half. Magic guard
Jameer Nelson missed the game with an Achilles issue and is questionable
against the Lakers. The Magic are 1-6 without Nelson in the lineup.
The Magic are near the bottom in the league with 91.1 ppg. However, they are
4-1 this season when scoring 100 or more points.
Orlando won the only meeting with the Lakers last season, recording a 92-80
victory Jan. 20 in central Florida. Mainly because of Howard, the Magic have
won three of four and six of the last nine matchups with the Lakers. Orlando,
though, has dropped 12 of its last 14 as the visitor in this series.
The Sports Network