Dwight Howard showed Brook Lopez why he is the best center in the league Friday night, throwing Lopez completely off his game while posting monster numbers.
Howard finished the contest with 30 points, 16 rebounds and one block, shooting a surprising 12-16 from the charity stripe.
Lopez, however, cannot say the same, posting only 10 points and five rebounds. At one point, Lopez was 0-13 from the field before finishing an easy layup over Orlando's backup center, Marcin Gortat.
While this was certainly one of the most disappointing performances in Lopez's young career, it should serve as a great learning experience moving forward.
Howard completely exposed Lopez's inability to back down a stronger opponent, often forcing him into tough, off-balance shots. Even when Lopez tried to evade Howard with numerous pump fakes, he just would not bite.
Yet, considering that Lopez, the Nets leading scorer, did not make a field goal until late in the third quarter, his team did a fairly decent job of sticking around against a better and more talented squad.
The Nets led by as many as 10 points in the first half, when everything seemed to click on offense. But the Magic turned up the heat late in the second quarter, cutting the Nets lead down to three at the break.
The momentum carried over into the third quarter and the Magic outscored the Nets 32-16, capturing a lead that they would never relinquish.