AP Photo/John Raoux
3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS | +3
You have to feel for Vucevic. He ran into a buzz saw. Dwight Howard overwhelmed Vucevic with his mobility and athleticism on both ends of the floor. It was the type of one-sided matchup that people grew accustomed to seeing from Howard when he was in a Magic uniform. Vucevic competed, but he didn’t stand a chance against a motivated and healthier-looking Howard.
9-19 FG | 1-8 3P | 3 REB | 7 AST | 21 PTS | -6
Nelson scored, but it was more by volume than with any sort of efficiency. The interesting part was that he was able to find plenty of success scoring in the paint despite Howard’s presence, usually because he was a step quicker getting to the rim. The problem was that Nelson’s 3-point shot betrayed him and that neutered his effectiveness offensively. That and his six turnovers.
7-17 FG | 3-5 3P | 3 BLK | 15 REB | 17 PTS | -4
No. 12 had a double-double and a couple of blocks in a Magic uniform. No, it wasn’t Howard. It was Harris. Wearing Howard’s jersey number in his homecoming, Harris put up a Howard-esque performance. He had the play of the game when he blocked Howard’s dunk attempt from behind, which sparked a fast break for the Magic and momentarily gave them the lead on an Afflalo layup.
6-18 FG | 1-5 3P | 3 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | -6
Afflalo had a rough go of it. His defense on Kobe Bryant was excellent, even if Kobe wasn’t too involved offensively as he normally is because of head coach Jacque Vaughn’s decision to deploy the hack-a-Dwight strategy throughout the game. But Afflalo really had a tough time getting himself going on offense himself, which hurt Orlando’s cause.
|Los Angeles Lakers
Revenge is a dish best served cold. After losing to the Magic in Los Angeles in early December, Howard got his revenge in his return trip to Orlando, tying his own NBA record for the most free throw attempts in a game with 39. Dwight had a monster game and ultimately had the last laugh at the expense of Magic fans.