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Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012

Magic win first meeting against ex-star Howard

AP

LOS ANGELES — 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."

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."

Knicks 106, Suns 99

In New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and the Knicks ran their best home start in 20 years to 7-0, withstanding Rasheed Wallace's ejection after a mere 1:25 of playing time.

Phoenix had won its last two at MSG but the Knicks have finally figured out under coach Mike Woodson that home-court games are not to be wasted. They are 18-1 in the regular season at home since he took over last March.



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