The Magic sunk the Lakers, 113-103, Sunday night, and they did so by enforcing their will agains the defense-less Lakers.
Howard's first game against his former team didn't go exactly as planned. The Magic spoiled the part, led by Aaron Afflalo, Glen Davis and Jameer Nelson, with 30, 23 and 14 points, respectively.
There's no way around the fact that the Lakers got outplayed from the tip. The Magic wanted this one more, and it showed in the way they constantly attacked on offense and locked Howard down on defense.
Howard ended the night with 17 points on 41.7 percent shooting, with 15 rebounds, and while that production isn't too shabby, it wasn't the kind of game the Lakers needed him to have against his former employer.
Kobe Bryant dropped 32 points, but he shot just 44 percent on the night. The real problem for the Lakers wasn't Howard or Bryant's performance, though. It was their overall lack of defense throughout the game.
Giving up 113 points to a Magic team averaging just 91.1 points per game coming into the matchup is simply inexcusable.
It was an ugly loss for the Lakers and it's one that certainly has to sting quite a bit, especially for Howard.
This isn't the start to the 2012-13 season the Lakers had in mind, and it's going to take some serious work to turn things around in L.A. Lakers fans are hoping that Steve Nash can soon come return to the lineup and bring the consistency that the Lakers so desperately need.