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 Nelson, Howard lead Magic past Lakers

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PostSubject: Nelson, Howard lead Magic past Lakers   Sat Jan 17, 2009 5:07 pm

LOS ANGELES(AP) The Orlando Magic aren't doing it with smoke and mirrors.With
Dwight Howard a power in the middle, Jameer Nelson and his backcourt
mates sharpshooting from outside, the Magic showed their multiple
talents with a 109-103 victory over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles
Lakers on Friday night.Howard had 25 points and 20 rebounds, and
Nelson scored 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to help Orlando
win its sixth in a row. Bryant had 28 points, 13 rebounds and 11
assists for Los Angeles, but missed two jumpers in the waning moments."It
was a big-time win,'' Nelson said. "We were in Laker Town, and the
atmosphere was unbelievable. It definitely was a playoff atmosphere.
The intensity level was high and they came at us every play,
offensively, defensively and on the boards."They were trying to
out-tough us, but we got tough when we needed to. We have a swagger
about ourselves, knowing we're going to get back in the game if we're
down.''Howard, who posted his NBA-high 20th double-double of the
season, said, "It feels good, man. It was a great win. I'm trying to
calm down right now. I'm so hyped up, I feel like I can go play two
more quarters.''Although the win gave the Magic a better record
(32-Cool than the Lakers (31-9), Orlando hasn't been getting nearly as
much attention."We're flying under the radar. Noboby's really
noticing us,'' Nelson said. "At the same time, it's fine with us.
Everybody in this locker room knows the type of team we have and knows
what we're capable of."So as long as we continue to win, we'll
be where we want to be at the end of the year. Every year our team has
gotten better. We're definitely a lot more mature because of our
playoff experience. But we haven't reached our goal, and that's to win
a championship.''Bryant, whose triple-double was the 15th of his career and first since April 1, 2005, said the Magic played well."They made some tough shots. He (Nelson) made some really, really huge, tough shots. He's playing at an all-star level."And we didn't do a good job corralling (Howard), staying on top of him. We let him catch the ball deep and finish.''Nelson
scored 10 of Orlando's final 12 points, including hitting one of his
three 3-pointers with 35 seconds left to put the Magic up 104-103. He
was good on four free throws afterward as the Magic built a five-point
lead.All the Orlando starters scored in double figures, with Rashard Lewis getting 15, Hedo Turkoglu 13 and Courtney Lee 12.Lamar
Odom had 17 points for Los Angeles, and Vladimir Radmanovic had 15, all
coming on his 5-of-8 shooting treys. Andrew Bynum had 14 points and
three rebounds, but scored just two points after halftime and again was
outplayed by Howard, who also blocked three shots.Although they
didn't match their NBA record-setting spree of 23 3-pointers they made
in their last game, the Magic had a telling edge over the Lakers from
beyond the arc, going 12-of-28 to Los Angeles' 9-of-26. Lewis hit four
of his eight 3-point attempts and Nelson came up big at the right time,
hitting all of his 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter after missing
the three he took earlier in the game.The Magic were coming off a 139-107 rout of Sacramento where they established the league record for 3-point baskets.The
teams juggled the lead back and forth in the final 12 minutes, with 15
lead changes and the seven ties before the Magic got a comfortable lead
in the closing seconds.Down 54-44 early in the third quarter,
the Magic put together a 19-6 run to take their first lead of the game,
at 63-60 on Lee's 3-pointer midway through the period. They went on to
pull out to a 69-60 lead, but the Lakers came back to retake the lead
at 75-74 on Pau Gasol's tip-in just before the buzzer ending the third.Notes:
The Lakers were coming off a 112-111 loss at San Antonio. ... In the
Lakers' 106-103 win Dec. 20 in Orlando, Bynum had three points and five
fouls in only 12 minutes ... G Sasha Vujacic returned for Los Angeles
after missing two games with back spasms, but he didn't score in his 13
minutes on the court. ... Bryant had 41 points while Nelson scored 27
in the Magic's win over Los Angeles in Orlando last month. Bryant
scored 28 in the Magic's last visit to Los Angeles, when they beat the
Lakers 104-97 on Dec. 2, 2007.

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