Magic 113, Lakers 103By Jon Gold, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Mon, Dec 3, 2012 12:20 AM EST
LOS ANGELES -- Forget about Dwight Howard's bitter reunion with the Orlando Magic. Arron Afflalo wasn't about to let that circus derail his hometown happiness. The UCLA alumnus and native Angelino scored a season-high 30 points, and Orlando employed the familiar Hack-A-Dwight strategy to perfection as the Magic shocked the Lakers 113-103 Sunday night at Staples Center. After trailing by as much as seven points midway through the fourth quarter, Orlando went on a 36-17 run to close the game, sending Howard to the free-throw line possession after possession. With the Magic hounding him at every opportunity in the last six minutes, Howard made just seven of 14 free throws down the stretch. Howard, who moved from central Florida to southern California in an offseason trade, finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds. He went 9-for-21 at the foul line overall. Orlando, meanwhile, got hot when it counted. Jameer Nelson had eight of his 19 points and seven of his 13 assists in the fourth quarter, helping the Magic produce a 40-point period. Glen Davis added 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic, who broke a three-game losing streak. Nikola Vucevic had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and J.J. Redick finished with 14 points off the bench to boost Orlando. Kobe Bryant had 34 points, seven rebounds and five assists but a plus/minus rating of negative-17 for the Lakers. Metta World Peace added 15 points with three 3-pointers, including the 1,000th of his career. Afflalo hit a 3-pointer as the first half expired, tying the score at 52. The former Bruin had 14 points in the first half on 6-of-10 shooting, adding four rebounds and three assists. Davis had 12 points and six rebounds before the break, and Redick added 11 points off the bench. Bryant had 17 points at the half to lead Los Angeles as the Orlando defense keyed on Howard. Bryant scored 12 points in the second quarter, when Howard was held scoreless. Pau Gasol, who has been struggling to find his place in new coach Mike D'Antoni's offense, had 11 first-half points. He didn't score in the second half. NOTES: The Lakers went 1-4 against Orlando from 2008-12 in the regular season, but they beat the Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals, four games to one. Orlando won the lone matchup last season, 92-80, at home. ... Howard's first game against his former Orlando squad didn't quite match up to what Shaquille O'Neal achieved in his first game against his ex-team after making the same move from the Magic to the Lakers in 1996. O'Neal had 25 points, 18 rebounds, seven blocks and five steals on Dec. 6, 1996, in a 92-81 Los Angeles win.
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