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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Orlando Magic 23 29 21 40 113
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 27 25 25 26 103
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Orlando beats Dwight Howard's Lakers in reunion

By GREG BEACHAM


Posted Dec 03 2012 12:54AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Orlando Magic have changed greatly since they traded Dwight Howard last summer. Howard's free-throw struggles haven't changed at all, and that's just one way the Magic pulled a stunning upset in their reunion.

Arron Afflalo scored 30 points, Glen Davis added 23 points and 12 rebounds, and the Magic beat Howard in their first game against their longtime center, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 113-103 on Sunday night.

Howard had 21 points and 15 rebounds against his former team, but the rebuilding Magic rallied impressively with a 40-point fourth quarter for just their fourth win in 14 games, snapping a three-game 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 fourth quarter, with Nelson and J.J. Redick hitting 3-pointers along the way.

Howard left the court after the game without shaking hands with the Magic.

"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. He lost. I'd feel bad, too. I wouldn't want to shake nobody's hand. We weren't even really thinking about him. We just wanted to get this win. I didn't talk to him. I'm here to play basketball. I'm not here to be buddies."

Jameer Nelson had 19 points and 13 assists after nearly sitting out with tendinitis during the Magic's most impressive win under new coach Jacque Vaughn. Orlando also started a stretch of five road games in eight days with just its second road win all season.

Not much of the team Howard left is still standing in Orlando, which now has Vaughn, a new front-office staff and just five players left who played with Howard. The center acknowledged neither hard feelings nor wistfulness before the Magic's visit, only saying the experience would be a bit weird.

Afflalo, the former UCLA star who moved from Denver to Orlando as part of the trade that sent Howard to the Lakers, had his highest-scoring game in a Magic uniform.

"The way we lost the past three games, I'm sure our fans just wanted to see us win in general," Afflalo said. "But for us to kick-start this road trip by playing well, against the Lakers in particular, they should be proud of that. It's a huge confidence boost for us."

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. Metta World Peace scored 15 points, and Pau Gasol added 11 for the Lakers, who went back to poor form just two nights after a 122-point effort in a blowout win over Denver.

"Seems like we can't get out of our own way," D'Antoni said. "I think our problem is just not coming out with the intensity and the purpose that we need to have. ... We're slow right now. Just athletically, we're struggling with young teams that run up and down."

Vaughn, who never coached Howard, said before the game that the Magic wouldn't hesitate to force the big man to beat them at the free-throw line in a close game. Howard, whose success rate has been hovering below 50 percent, missed seven of his first nine free throws against the Magic before finishing with more free-throw attempts than the entire Orlando roster, which went 19 for 20.

"That kind of got us out of our rhythm a little bit," said Antawn Jamison, who scored 10 points for Los Angeles. "But it's unexplainable ... to play the way we did tonight after playing so well the other night."

Howard spent the past eight years as the face of the Orlando franchise since the Magic plucked him out of his Atlanta high school with the first pick in the 2004 draft. He made six All-Star teams and won the NBA's defensive player of the year award three times, leading the Magic to the 2009 NBA finals during five straight playoff appearances.

The Magic were very good with Howard as their centerpiece, but never won a title - and it all began to fall apart over the previous two seasons when he criticized the organization, flirted with numerous trades and eventually bumped heads with coach Stan Van Gundy, who announced Howard wanted him fired last April.

Howard missed the end of last season with a herniated disc in his back, and the Magic missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Their agonizingly protracted breakup finally happened in early August when the patient Lakers swung a four-team, 12-player trade for the center, giving up All-Star center Andrew Bynum in the deal.

The game also concludes a generous portion of the schedule for the Lakers, who played 12 of their first 17 games at home. Los Angeles plays nine of its next 12 on the road through Christmas, with no multigame homestands until the holiday week.

NOTES: The Lakers don't visit Orlando until March 12. ... World Peace hit the 1,000th 3-pointer of his career in the third quarter. ... Lakers G Steve Nash did shooting and dribbling work on the court before the game. The two-time MVP has missed 15 straight games with a small fracture in his right leg, and the Lakers aren't sure when he'll return.



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Points Bryant, 34
Rebounds Howard, 15
Assists Nelson (ORL), 13
Steals World Peace, 3
Blocks Vucevic (ORL), 4
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On tonight’s performance:
“Seems like we can’t get out of our own way and it’s obviously very disappointing. To me, we lose it in the first half. We don’t control the game, come out and let them do what they want to do and then they hit a streak. You know, it’s an NBA team, so they felt like they got a chance to win and we let them have it. So not real good.”

“They spread us out, they did a good job. You got to give them credit, Afflalo, Redick, and Jameer. We let them be able to foul Dwight, now were going to go back at them and go one on one and they just spread us out. You can see it coming and you got to put a stop to it early and once they get on a roll, they’re good NBA players. They can make shots and they made shots. But our worries come from the offensive end and we drag it back on the defensive end and we weren’t very good. Weren’t very good at all.”

On what they have to do moving forward:
“Just keep working, there’s no magic potion. Again, we know what the problem is, defensively we just weren’t good tonight, we have been good, then we’re not good tonight. We just tie our troubles together and for whatever reason, then we get down, you can feel it, you can see it coming. Doesn’t take a basketball genius to figure out that ‘here it comes’ and you can see an NBA team get hot, get ready, and we’re just not doing anything to prevent it.”

On what the team needs:
“We got to get more speed on the floor and obviously it didn’t work great tonight but at some point we got to get up and down, we got to move the ball, we got to go. We got to clear things out for Dwight, but wasn’t the greatest thing in the world tonight. But again, I don’t think that’s our problem. I think our problem is not coming out with intensity and the purpose that we need to have.”

On Dwight Howard:
“We have a little problem getting him involved and that’s no doubt. We’re not the greatest passers in the world right now but that will cure when Nash comes back and Steve Blake and we open up a little bit more. They’re certain things that we’re going to be able to cure, the mental aspect of it, fighting, and digging in. That’s where we got to go.”




Kobe Bryant:

On the game:
“We continued to miss a lot of the easy ones.”

“The pressure’s on me and Dwight [Howard] to really perform well, and we’ll pick up for everybody else’s mistakes whenever it may be. He and I have to perform at a really, really high level night in and night out.”

On Dwight Howard’s free throw shooting:
“He should look at it as an opportunity because you know once he conquers the ability to make free throws the sky is the absolute limit for him.”

On what the team needs to do to win on the upcoming road trip:
“We just got to make the easy ones and take advantage of the opportunities that we have and we’ll be alright.”




Dwight Howard:

On the team’s overall performance tonight:
“As a team our effort wasn’t there. 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.”

On the team’ defense tonight:
“We got to help each other. Everybody knows I’m going to help on defense. Tonight, every time I went to help, nobody went back and hit my man. We just got to work on it. We were a step slow tonight. We just got to pick it up.”

On his free throw shooting:
“I just got to keep playing, keep being aggressive, keep practicing and they’ll start falling.”




Antawn Jamison:

On his limited production tonight compared to last game:
“Well, that’s going to happen, especially with the guys on the bench. We’re not going to get those same opportunities we got the previous night. Last game I was able to get numerous shots up, but tonight that wasn’t the case. When situations like that happen you just have to do what you can, whether that’s rebounding or defensively helping out your team or just knocking down a big shot here or there. We know what our role is; we know that every night that opportunity is not going to present itself. A lot of teams are saying when those guys come in we really have to pay attention to them. That makes are job even harder, but that’s our job. The biggest thing for us, especially the guys coming off of the bench, and as a team, is to be consistent with our roles and what we need to do as a team.”




Pau Gasol:

On how to fix the defense:
“We just have to scramble at all times. I think we did better in the third quarter when we held them to like 20 points, but then fourth quarter, they scored 40 points. That’s not something we can afford and we can allow as a team, we’re too good of a defensive team. They’re tough because they run around screens, and our guys, that’s not their forte defensively. We still have to find ways to cover for each other and not allow easy looks. There were too many open jumpers, and dunks down the lane. So, we have a lot to work on, we just have to be more discipline.”

On how he felt being on the bench down the stretch:
“I don’t get irritated. I like to be out there, it’s upsetting for me as a player, but I don’t allow it to irritate me. We’re all trying to do our best, and find ways to win the game. Coach makes his decisions, and you have to respect them.”

On if he was making a concerted effort to be closer to the basket:
“Yes, I am going to try, within the system, to find positions where I can be more effective and be more comfortable. The positions I’ve been playing throughout my entire career, and the positions that made me so successful as a player.”




Jacque Vaughn:

On tonight’s performance:
“That’s the first thing I mentioned to these guys after the game. We played for each other and we played with each other and that was great from beginning to end. 34 assists shows our unselfishness and the ability for us to play that way every night. It’s just a commitment, a focus and approach and tonight we had it.”

On big picture dynamic:
“It’s the first game of this 5 game road trip. Big picture we did some good things going forward. I’m going to stay consistent; we want to get that every day. Today we got better. Nik Vucevic got better today. Glen Davis got better today. Guys that came off the bench, they got better today. It’s a big stage out there playing on a Sunday, 6:30 game and our guys showed up.”

On having Jameer Nelson back:
“He’s huge; we can go to him at the end of the game. We just basically ran pick-and-roll at some points of the game to let him manipulate the defense and he was able to do that. It takes pressure of E’Twaun [Moore] even though E’Twaun was great for us today. It’s added pressure when Jameer isn’t there. We were able to play our role today and play together as a team.”

On 4th quarter:
“We moved the basketball. I think defensively our bigs were great tonight. They were able to get pressure on the basketball, we contested shots and then we rebounded the basketball. Sometimes the game is that simple if you make it.”




Arron Afflalo:

On the game:
“I think it was a matter of me being more aggressive. It’s nothing that I figured I would find difficult in terms of scoring this season, especially now with the pressure we have and the opportunities I have on the court. It’s just early in the season I was trying to feel my way out on how I’m going to be aggressive as I learn my teammates and their strengths. ”

“The last two games I’ve gone really high and really low in terms of my approach to the game. I think I found something consistent going what I can do out there on the court.”

On the fourth quarter:
“Honestly, I think we just executed shots. JJ made a huge three. Glen made a few good nice driving baskets and Jameer I think hit two or three threes so to tell you the truth. And Nick had some big finishes off the rim. I think it was just a matter of hitting some timely shots.”




Jameer Nelson:

On the game:
“The way we have lost the last two or three games I’m sure they [the fans] just wanted to see us win in general. But for us to play well and kick start this road trip against the Lakers in particular, they should be proud of that. “

“Tonight we proved that we can play well against good teams for long stretches of the game.”

“We’re starting to get a little more comfortable. We are trying to accomplish offensively. I always thought our defense, obviously could have gotten better, but way always pretty good. We play hard.”




Glen Davis:

On the game:
“I was aggressive still, but at the same time I let the game come to me. Shots and things that basketball God reward. Just trying to stay within my role and at the same time do what I know I can do.”

“Together. Tonight guys from Kyle O’Quinn coming in and Nick who played a great game. Affalo played a great great wonderful game and today was a team effort win.”

“We worked together to get the win. We know how we play big time.”

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MAGIC-LAKERS PREVIEW

By JORDAN GARRETSON

Posted Dec 01 2012 5:17PM

Dwight Howard played the first 621 games and eight seasons of his career with the Orlando Magic. He'll be competing against them for the first time Sunday night in Los Angeles.

With Howard coming off his best game with his new team, the Lakers appearing more comfortable in their new coach's offense and the Magic struggling, the six-time All-Star seems to be in the better position to win any bragging rights.

The Lakers (8-8) acquired Howard in August with a four-team deal that also sent Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia. The Magic received Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga from Los Angeles, Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver, Maurice Harkless and Nikola Vucevic from the 76ers and five future draft picks.

Howard averaged 18.4 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks over his tenure with the Magic, highlighted by a run to the 2009 NBA finals. Orlando returned to the Eastern Conference finals the next season but failed to make it out of the first round in each of the last two as Howard's relationship with the franchise soured.

"It's going to be a little weird playing against my former team," said Howard, whose averages of 18.6 points and 11.1 boards as a Laker are well below his marks from last season. "But we need a good win. So I'll put all my effort into getting ready for the next game, playing with a lot of intensity and just having fun."

Howard did that in a 122-103 home win over Denver on Friday, posting 28 points and a season-high 20 rebounds after failing to grab 10 in four straight games. He shot 12 of 16 from the field and made the second 3-pointer of his career - one of 17 by Los Angeles.

The Lakers had lost three of four but recorded their highest scoring total under coach Mike D'Antoni, who is 3-3 since taking over. They were only three days removed from a barrage of criticism after scoring 77 in a loss to Indiana in what already has been a turbulent season.

Los Angeles scored 71 in the first half Friday, finishing with a season-high 33 assists and shooting 54.0 percent. Kobe Bryant had a season-low 14 points - he's averaging 26.9 - but handed out eight assists as the Lakers improved to 8-1 when he has five or more.

"It's the way we want to play," D'Antoni said. "We've got a lot of talent out there, and it's got to mesh, and the ball has got to move."

Antawn Jamison scored 33 of the Lakers' 61 bench points, their most since getting 66 against Dallas on Jan. 3, 2010. Jodie Meeks scored 21 on seven 3-pointers off the Los Angeles bench, which remains among the league's worst at 23.6 points per game.

Orlando (5-10) won its first two games but has since dropped 10 of 13, with a 98-86 defeat to Brooklyn on Friday marking its third straight loss. Afflalo had a season-low five points to drop his average to 14.7, falling behind Glen Davis (14.8) for the team lead.

"I don't care (about facing Howard and the Lakers)," said Davis, who hasn't reached 20 points in a game since totaling 51 during the 2-0 start. "Dwight's got his own problems and we've got problems over here."

The loss of Howard was huge, but the Magic also have been decimated by injuries. Jameer Nelson sat out Friday because of a sore left Achilles tendon as Orlando fell to 1-6 without the point guard, who previously missed time with hamstring and groin injuries. Nelson is considered day-to-day and will be re-evaluated for Sunday's game.

Orlando is still without Hedo Turkoglu (broken hand) and Harrington (knee surgery) and has started eight different lineups.

The Magic have won six of the last nine meetings, though Howard was at their disposal and had 21 points and 23 rebounds in a 92-80 victory in last season's only matchup.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #21 Harkless  
  #16 GasolPF #11 Davis  
  #12 Howard C #9 Vucevic  
  #24 Bryant SG #4 Afflalo  
  #1 Morris PG #14 Nelson  


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Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal strain) is day-to-day.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disc/sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(non-displaced fracture, left leg) is out.
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Magic Al Harrington
(right knee rehabilitation) is out.
Jameer Nelson
(left Achilles tendinitis) is day-to-day.
Hedo Turkoglu
(broken left hand) is out.
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12/02 - ORL @ LAL
03/12 - LAL @ ORL
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