Naturally, Dwight Howard's season-high 39 points came in his only visit to Orlando this season, a 106-97 Lakers victory. Serenaded by boos and greeted by signs ("Dwight Coward" was a personal favorite), Howard returned the love after this slam, wholly set up by Steve Nash drawing two defenders. A kiss to the crowd—welcome back.
Most of Howard's 39 points came from the charity stripe. He went 2-for-9 early on, causing Magic coach Jacque Vaughn to turn to Hack-a-Dwight. That backfired: Howard went 16-for-20 from the line in the second half, and finished 25-for-39. Those 39 free throw attempts? That ties an NBA record, also held by Dwight Howard.
With the win, the Lakers find themselves alone in eighth place in the West. Kobe Bryant's playoff guarantee is looking a little safer this morning.