ORLANDO, Fla. - Two days after Dwight Howard apologized to Orlando fans in an interview with USA Today, he faced them head on as fans booed him when he joined his fellow Los Angeles Lakers teammate on Tuesday night at the Amway Center.
[MORE VIDEO: Dwight Howard discusses return to Orlando]
Fans cheered when Howard missed his first shot and his first two free throws. Many fans appeared to share the same feelings as many jerseys were sported saying "Coward" instead of "Howard" and "Cry baby quitter."
But in the end, the Lakers had the final word, beating the Magic 106-97 behind 39 points from Howard.
One fan described Howard's leaving the Magic as a breakup.
"It's like an ex-girlfriend. You try to give her everything she wants. She leaves you. You don't like her. You don't see her again," said Daniel Cardoso.
But some Lakers fans told Local 6 they felt the booing was unnecessary and unsportsmanlike.
"I think they should have gave him a little bit more love," said Lakers fan Joe Johnson.
Howard told reporters he looked forward to being back in Orlando. Howard also spoke to Local 6 Sports Director David Pingalore, who asked how it felt to come back to his old team's home court.
"It felt normal. I haven't been here since my surgery, so I was happy to come back and see my house, you know, go to Waffle House and get a good meal," Howard replied.
Howard said he didn't know what the reception would be like from his fans.
"I had eight great years here and nothing can take away the accomplishments, you know, we had here as a team and what we went through together," Howard said. "Today's a new day, whatever happened in the past I'm going to leave it behind me, like I said, I have nothing but love for the fans here. They treated me well. It didn't end right, it didn't end the way we all wanted it to but, you know, I'm in a better place and everybody has to move on."
Howard had not played a game at the Amway Center since April 5, when the Magic took on the New York Knicks. A back injury kept him out the rest of the season.
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