A victory over the Lakers will look great the day after, but it still can't hide two of the problems that keep dogging the Magic.
They can't hit the three-point shot anymore. And they still don't have a No. 2 scorer.
The Magic beat the Lakers at home Sunday before the largest crowd (19,193) in franchise history, but even the Magic realize they still have a long way to go before they can contend consistently against the best teams in the league.
Those two issues aren't going away anytime soon.
The Magic came into Sunday having made just 28.5 percent of their three-point shots in the previous nine games. And against the Lakers, they didn't go much better, making only seven of 23. This time, they were smart enough to keep feeding Howard, who kept dominating the game.
Jason Richardson, with 12 points, was the only player beside Howard who reached double figure scoring.
The Magic don't return to action until Wednesday against Washington. Then, they break for All-Star Weekend before playing again against Sacramento.
"We're not that far away," said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "We're right there against the better teams in the league. There should be a sense of optimism. This can be turned around."
The Lakers were the first team with a winning record the Magic have beaten since Jan. 8 when they beat Dallas. They had lost eight consecutive times against teams with winning records.
MAGIC 89, LAKERS 75: Dwight Howard had 31 points and 13 rebounds, once again dominating the Los Angeles Lakers. He didn't get much offensive help from his teammates, but he didn't need it because the Magic clamped down defensively on the Lakers. Jason Richardson, with 12 points, was the only other player to reach double-figures in points. Howard made 13 of 16 shots, including one nifty bank shot from 14 feet away. He was in foul trouble early, but he battled through it to control the game at both ends.
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