Dwight Howard missed seven of 14 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter… (Harry How / Getty Images )
Magic 113 - Lakers 103 (final)
Dwight Howard couldn't hit his free throws against the Orlando Magic and the Lakers fall to 8-9 after being upset, 113-103, at Staples Center Sunday night.
The Magic sent Howard to the line 14 times in the fourth quarter, almost always intentionally. Howard hit just seven as Orlando kept the Lakers from running any semblance of an offense, exploiting Howard's biggest weakness.
Meanwhile the Lakers didn’t respond defensively and the Magic exploded for 40 fourth-quarter points. Arron Afflalo led the way with 30 points on 11-18 shooting for the game. Glen Davis scored 23, Jameer Nelson 19 and Nikola Vucevic 17.
The Lakers shot 41.9% from the field as a team, led by 34 from Kobe Bryant. Howard's 21 came with 21 trips to the line, making nine (42.9%).
Where the Lakers faltered, outside of free throws, was defensively, yielding 113 points on 50% shooting from the Magic.
Now the Lakers hit the road for three straight where they're 1-4 this season.
Lakers 77- Magic 73 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers couldn't shake the Magic in the third quarter, struggling to hit shots but staying ahead by a slight margin on the line and behind the arc.
Orlando shot 44.6% from the field, led by a strong night from Arron Afflalo (23 points). The Lakers hit just 42.4%, but converted 16 of 23 free throws.
Late in the period, the Magic began to intentionally foul Dwight Howard away from the ball. Howard converted just 2-7, accounting for five of the Lakers' seven misses.
Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 24 points.
Lakers 52 - Magic 52 (halftime)
The Lakers and Magic head into halftime tied at 52 after Arron Afflalo nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Lakers had built up a nine-point lead but the Magic slowly whittled away at the deficit with 14 points from Afflalo and 12 from Glen Davis.
The Lakers missed easy shots and turned the ball over (six for the half).
Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 17.
The Lakers shot 43.2% from the field while the Magic hit 45.5%. J.J. Redick gave the Magic a boost off the bench with 11. Lakers reserve forward Antawn Jamison hit all three of his shots for eight.
Lakers 27 - Magic 23 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers shook off a slow start from Kobe Bryant, who missed his first four shots, to take an early four-point lead against the Orlando Magic. The Lakers shot 12-25 (48%) from the field while holding the Magic to 42.1%.
Dwight Howard, playing against his former team for the first time, scored five points and collected seven early boards. The Magic were led by Glen Davis' eight points.
Coach Mike D'Antoni gave Devin Ebanks five first-quarter minutes. Ebanks hasn't been in the regular rotation since his arrest for an alleged DUI.
Pau Gasol got off to a strong start, leading the Lakers with six. Bryant had five.
Dwight Howard faces his former team for the first time as the Lakers host the Orlando Magic at Staples Center on Sunday night.
Orlando has struggled without Howard (5-10) but the organization is just now taking its first steps into rebuilding. They're led by Glen Davis (14.8 points a game) and Arron Afflalo (14.7).
While the Lakers really aren't much better this season (8-8), they should be able to handle the Magic despite playing without Steve Nash (leg) and Steve Blake (abdominal strain).
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Magic.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.