Dwight Howard, the former Orlando Magic center, scored 21 points and collected 15 rebounds against his former team, but in the 4th quarter, he flopped from the free throw line. The Lakers wasted a 7-point lead in the final quarter, and after the Magic took control, they decided to foul Superman. He went to the free throw line and lost another battle with kryptonite: 7-of-14 free throws (9-21 for the game) and the Lakers lost, 113-103. At home. Afterward, he gave his former teammates the cold shoulder:
After the game ended, Howard went straight to the Lakers’ locker room without shaking Magic players’ hands or saying anything to the four former teammates who made the trip to California: Nelson, Davis, J.J. Redick and Ish Smith.
“He didn’t talk to me,” Davis said. “I didn’t talk to him. I’m here to play basketball. I’m not here to be buddies. Once we talk off the court, it’s cool. But other than that, I have nothing to say.”
Howard was asked “how emotional” it was to play his former team.
“It wasn’t emotional,” he said.
Howard’s 46 percent shooting from the line may not even be the biggest story; Pau Gasol was benched for the final six minutes in favor of Antawn Jamison. D’Antoni’s quote will get the trade rumors swirling again:
“We just have to be a more dynamic team,” he said. “We’re slow right now. Athletically, we’re struggling against young teams that just run up and down.”
The Lakers are 8-9, and it should be noted the Heat were 9-8 two years ago when LeBron bumped Spoelstra and the team seemed on the verge of unraveling … before they got it together and advanced to the NBA Finals.