Dwight Howard can expect a surly reaction as he plays in Orlando as a visiting player for the first time when the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Magic on Tuesday. Howard's messy split with the franchise in which he spent his first eight NBA seasons irritated the fan base and the locals are ready to serenade him with jeers and venom. The Magic have fallen on hard times without Howard and have the NBA's second-worst record.Howard attempted to apologize to Orlando fans during an interview with USA Today leading up to the visit, admitting that he "handled a lot of stuff the wrong way." The Magic defeated the Lakers in this season's first meeting on Dec. 2, scoring 40 fourth-quarter points en route to a 113-103 victory. Los Angeles was in disarray back then but is now playing solid basketball with victories in 16 of its last 22 games to take over the final playoff position in the Western Conference. The Lakers are two games above .500 for the first time all season.TV: 7 p.m. ET, Time Warner Cable SportsNet (Los Angeles), Fox Sports Florida (Orlando)ABOUT THE LAKERS (33-31): Howard is playing superbly as he returns to his Orlando. He has grabbed 12 or more rebounds in 10 straight games and contributed 16 points and 21 rebounds in Sunday's victory over the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers are 8-2 during the stretch that has seen Howard average 15.5 points and 14.8 rebounds. "Dwight is just feeling better," Los Angeles coach Mike D'Antoni said of a player who off had offseason back surgery. "You can see it all over the place. His back is better, he's in rhythm … he's a monster defensively." Guard Kobe Bryant had 19 points against Chicago after averaging 35.9 points over the previous eight games. Bryant had 40 or more points in three of those contests.ABOUT THE MAGIC (18-46): Guard Jameer Nelson will be the only former Howard teammate on the floor. Forwards Glen Davis (foot injury) and Hedo Turkoglu (suspension for violating the NBA drug policy) are both sidelined. Nelson had 24 points and 10 assists in Sunday's win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Center Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 17 rebounds against his former squad for his 35th double-double of the season. Vucevic was acquired from the 76ers as part of the four-team deal that sent Howard to Los Angeles and has exceeded all expectations. He is averaging 12.3 points and 11.4 rebounds.BUZZER BEATERS 1. Los Angeles has lost four consecutive regular-season contests in Orlando.2. Magic swingman Arron Afflalo scored 30 points - which ties for his season high - in the December victory over the Lakers.3. Howard had 21 points and 15 rebounds in the first meeting but went 9-for-21 from the free-throw line.PREDICTION: Lakers 109, Magic 103.