We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 106-97 win at Orlando:
Orlando shot just 39.8 percent from the field, the second straight game L.A. held an opponent under 40 percent. The Magic, though, managed to hang around for much of the game in large part due to 27 second-chance points off 13 offensive rebounds.
Season high in points for Dwight Howard, plus 16 rebounds and three blocked shots in his return to Orlando. He also shot 39 free throws – making 25 – tying an NBA record he set while playing for Orlando at Golden State on Jan. 12, 2012. He drilled 16 of 20 in the second half, 23 of his last 30 and also 16 of 20 when Magic coach Jacque Vaughn employed the Hack-a-Howard strategy. In the last four games, the big man is averaging 24.8 points, 16.3 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 2.0 steals.
Steve Blake dished out eight assists, a season-high for the Lakers backup point guard. Four dimes came during a stretch at the beginning of the fourth when L.A.’s bench unit of Antawn Jamison, Jodie Meeks and Blake helped extend their lead from 79-68 to 88-72, essentially putting the game away. Since his return on Jan. 29, the Lakers are 15-6.
Triples from Earl Clark in the third quarter, the first one spurring a 15-2 run that turned a 57-56 Lakers deficit into a 71-59 advantage. Clark’s two 3-pointers were his only buckets of the game, but came during an important time for L.A.
The Lakers (34-31) find themselves a half-game ahead of Utah (33-31) for the No. 8 seed and just a half-game in back of Houston (34-30) for the No. 7 seed. It was L.A.’s fourth straight win and their ninth in the last 11 games post All-Star break.