Full Recap of Dwight Howard's Wild Return to the City of Orlando

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Full Recap of Dwight Howard's Wild Return to the City of Orlando
Harry How/Getty Images

Dwight Howard's first game back in Orlando against his former Magic team was unsurprisingly full of both fireworks and angry boos, but Howard would get the last laugh with a huge game.

The Los Angeles Lakers came into Orlando trying to regain their hold on the eighth seed in the Western Conference, but their 106-97 win over the Magic was much bigger than that in the grand scheme of basketball things.

This one wasn't talked about for weeks in advance, like LeBron James' return to Cleveland back in 2010, but there was definitely some lingering animosity.

Just take a look at the billboards thrown up around Orlando for Dwight's arrival:

The Lakers came in to practice a few hours before the game, and a large horde of reporters stood and waited for a word with Howard for his feelings on the inevitable return and what he expected out of the crowd.

Howard made them wait.

When he finally did come off the court (doubtless he was practicing his free throws for the hacking that would rain down upon him later that evening), Dwight seemed confident, apologetic and still firm in his decision.

From there, it was all buildup to the introductions and the actual tipoff. 

Of course, Howard came out and warmed up a bit before the game started, at which point he was met with a handful of boos from a reserved, anxious crowd. He reacted in the most Dwightish way possible.

Once the lights dimmed and the time came, however, the Orlando fans were ready.

The game itself was relatively uneventful, save for the huge game Howard had at the hands of Orlando's Smite-a-Dwight ploy and a conversation he had with a fan during the third quarter (more on that in a minute).

The Magic were well in the game in the first quarter, but Los Angeles built a six-point lead by the end of the half.

Orlando was able to tie the game once more at 59-59 with six minutes left in the third quarter. 

But the Lakers would go on to score 12 straight points and hold off the Magic for the remainder of the game despite constantly fouling Howard.

The biggest scrap between Howard and an outside influence came in the third quarter, when he was having a talk with a fan. One of two things was happening here: Either Howard was talking about this fan's mama, or they were debating on the best contemporary cellist, and Howard was backing Yo Yo Ma.

I'd say I'm 50-50 on what went down.

As you can expect given that last tweet, Howard's postgame press conference was handled about as well as he handled the Magic big men in the post throughout the game.

Dwight ended up with 39 points (the most he's put up for the Lakers so far), 16 rebounds, three blocks and a steal.

It was a dominant game, handled perfectly from start to finish, with barely a hiccup throughout.

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