Quick Recap: Magic – 96 Lakers – 94


The Magic held off the Lakers late rally to get a 96-94 victory in a game that Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy labeled a “battle.” Vince Carter led the Magic with 25 points, Jameer Nelson had 15 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists while Dwight Howard scored 15 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 34 points with 18 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Pau Gasol scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

The Magic came out quick getting a Rashard Lewis three-pointer on their first possession. After that, Orlando just wasn’t making shots and the Lakers grabbed a 12-9 lead. Orlando answered by scoring the next seven points. They stayed aggressive and earned trips to the free throw line. That’s how the Magic were able to score 31 points despite making just six shots and shooting an effective field goal percentage of 41.2%. The Magic went 17-of-18 from the charity stripe. Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard each picked up two first quarter fouls, but Howard was still able to grab seven redounds and helped the Magic to a 13-9 edge on the glass. Vince Carter was 2-of-2 from the field but made all 10 of his free throws and scored 15 first quarter points – the most points any Magic player has scored in the first quarter this season. Kobe Bryant scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting but the rest of the Lakers combined to shoot 2-of-14 and the Magic took a 31-24 lead into the second quarter.

Dwight Howard returned to the game at the 7:05 mark but picked up his third foul at the 6:37 mark and went right back out of the game. Marcin Gortat gave the Magic good minutes. He scored 6 points on 3-of-3 shooting, grabbed 5 rebounds and blocked a shot. He also provided the highlight play of the first half when he dunked on Lamar Odom. Orlando shot just 2 second half free throws after taking 18 in the first quarter but shot the ball better, going 9-of-21 from the field with an eFG % of 47.6%. Vince Carter played just under 6 minutes in the second quarter and scored 2 points. The Magic continuously stretched their lead back to 7 or 8 points but the Lakers kept answering back and cut the deficit to 4. Orlando led 52-48 at the half.

The third quarter had a lot of fireworks. Matt Barnes and Kobe Bryant were doing a lot of talking and Barnes landed on Bryant after throwing down a dunk. Kobe tried to back Barnes off and Barnes got in his face, much like he did with Paul Pierce a few weeks back. Both players were issued technical fouls. The Magic led 61-57 with 6:03 left in the quarter but went on a 10-2 run, pushing their lead to 12. The Magic led 74-64 as the quarter came to a close. At one point during the quarter, Rashard Lewis made back-to-back three pointers but the second one was reviewed and disallowed due to a shot clock violation. Both teams continued to shoot poorly. The Magic were 8-of-20 from the field in the quarter and the Lakers wee just 4-of-16. Kobe Bryant scored just 3 points and was 0-of-6 from the field in the quarter.

The Lakers started the fourth quarter on a 8-0 run by making some tough shots and cut Orlando’s lead down to 2. Orlando responded by going on a 7-2 run of their own. At one point during the run, Bryant fouled Barnes and Barnes walked right into Bryant. The run was capped by a Dwight Howard dunk. Before the dunk, Howard was grabbed by Gasol and Gasol picked up a flagrant foul but Howard was still able to complete the dunk. Mickael Pietrus then threw home a dunk but was called for basket inference, which was clearly the wrong call. Kobe Bryant then hit a three-pointer, so the call resulted in a 5-point swing that cut the lead back to 81-77.  Bryant then cut the lead to 2 with 2:35 to play on a layup but Dwight Howard answered with a three-point play. Howard then tipped in a shot for the Lakers while going for a rebound to cut it to three. Kobe Bryant missed a three-pointer and on the next trip down, Matt Barnes hit a three-pointer to put the Magic up six. After Pau Gasol got a tip-in, Barnes and Fisher were called for double foul. With the Magic leading by 5, a three-pointer by Bryant to cut the lead to 2. After Jameer Nelson made just one of his two free throws, Kobe Bryant hit an apparent game-tying three-pointer, but it was reviewed and ruled a two. Vince Carter was fouled and made just one but Kobe Bryant missed a potential game-tying 20-footer as time expired and the Magic came away with a 96-94 victory.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).