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Los Angeles at Orlando

Nelson, Howard offset Kobe's 41 points in Magic win

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Kobe Bryant did his job. The Orlando Magic did, too.

The Los Angeles Lakers star scored a season-high 41 points, but Magic center Dwight Howard made eight of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter, and Jameer Nelson had 27 points to lead Orlando to a 106-103 victory over the Lakers on Saturday night.

"ESPN magazine did a story about how to defend LeBron James," coach Stan Van Gundy joked. "I don't think anybody is coming to me for that gig about defending Kobe. We better keep winning games, so I can stay employed."

Bryant missed a three at the buzzer that would have sent the game to overtime. He made 14 of 31 shots, and all 11 of his free throws.

"They had three guys over at me every time (in the second half)," Bryant said. "When I get going, they send everybody.''

Orlando survived despite early foul trouble for Howard. Nelson had 15 points in the third quarter to lead the Magic back from an nine-point halftime deficit.

"I think it was really a good thing that I missed those two games,'' Howard said. "One, for me, giving rest for my body. And two, for my teammates that they can win without me, and do a lot of great things and trust each other."

Rashard Lewis added 22 points for Orlando, which has won six straight home games. Derek Fisher had 27 in support of Bryant.

In the last three days the Magic swept Western Conference contenders San Antonio and Los Angeles, giving them credibility as force for the NBA title.

"We believe we're contenders," Nelson said. "The naysayers say we're not. This means a lot. I think it's a statement game. It shows we're serious and we're contenders for the East."

The Lakers lost their last two games on last-minute shots.

"Those things are going to happen when you're on the road," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Those shots are more friendly at home, I guess."

Van Gundy said the Magic beat the Lakers at their best.

"It's hard for me for anyone to make a case the Lakers had a bad game," Van Gundy said.

Los Angeles, which fell to Miami on Friday night, lost two straight games for the first time this season.

Howard, playing his second outing after missing a pair of games with a sore knee, had 18 points and 12 rebounds.

"He wanted the ball," Van Gundy said. "He really played well in the second half."

The Magic improved to 21-6.

"I'm not trying to lie to you. It feels good in perspective. But it counts as one (victory)," Van Gundy said.

Orlando held a lead late in the fourth quarter, and foul-plagued Howard hit a pair of free throws with just over a minute left. Rashard Lewis hit one of two free throws in the final minute to put the Magic up to stay.

Nelson hit a long jumper to tie it at 78 late in the third quarter, with the Magic using six 3s to get back in the game.

Bryant had 25 first-half points as the Lakers took a 58-49 halftime lead.

Notes

  • The Magic made 12 of 33 3s.
  • Los Angeles is on a five-game trip. The Lakers return home to play NBA champion Boston on Dec. 25.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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'When I get going, they send everybody,' Kobe Bryant says about the Magic.  (Getty Images)
'When I get going, they send everybody,' Kobe Bryant says about the Magic. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
L.A. Lakers (21-5) 24342619103
Orlando (21-6) «23263621106
LAL:K. Bryant 41 Pts
LAL:K. Bryant 8 Reb
LAL:D. Fisher 4 Ast
ORL:J. Nelson 27 Pts
ORL:D. Howard 12 Reb
ORL:H. Turkoglu 7 Ast
Players of the Game
OrlandoLos Angeles

J. Nelson

K. Bryant
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
27454183
Los Angeles
K. Bryant, SG4314-3111-1183341
P. Gasol, C424-93-472411
D. Fisher, PG419-166-654327
A. Bynum, C121-41-11053
L. Walton, SF91-20-02042
L. Odom, PF361-72-28364
T. Ariza, SF242-60-05135
V. Radmanovic, SF204-60-03119
S. Vujacic, SG130-61-11011
C. Mihm, CDid Not Play
D. Mbenga, CDid Not Play
J. Powell, SFDid Not Play
J. Farmar, PGDid Not Play
Y. Sun, SGDid Not Play
Totals 36-8724-25401430103
 41.4%96.0% 
Orlando
H. Turkoglu, SF425-102-457114
R. Lewis, SF396-137-854422
J. Nelson, PG3511-161-445527
D. Howard, C314-610-15121518
K. Bogans, SG271-51-22053
M. Pietrus, SF182-100-01135
T. Battie, PF152-31-26025
A. Johnson, PG132-40-01206
M. Gortat, PF91-20-02002
C. Lee, SG71-12-41004
B. Cook, PF50-20-01020
A. Foyle, CDid Not Play
M. Wilks, PGDid Not Play
J. Redick, SGDid Not Play
J. Richardson, SFDid Not Play
Totals 35-7224-39402027106
 48.6%61.5% 
Other Games
GS 110 Final
Char 103
Ind 95 Final
Phi 94
Sac 90 Final
NO 99
Hou 109 Final
Min 102
Mia 106 Final
NJ 103
Utah 98 Final
Chi 106
LAC 85 Final
Mil 119
Tor 97 Final
SA 107
Den 101 Final
Pho 108