8:00 PM ET, January 30, 2002
Amway Arena, Orlando, FL
Orlando's Tracy McGrady flies to the basket, and Devean George can only watch.
O'Neal had 30 points and 14 rebounds while Bryant had 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers outscored Orlando 18-2 to open the final period, as the Magic missed their first nine shots. O'Neal hit a free throw with 5:37 remaining for a 93-79 lead, and Orlando never again came closer than 11 points.
"We had a good defensive stand in the fourth quarter, which made up for the fact that we were on our heels for much of the night," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "They went cold at the appropriate time."
Los Angeles has beaten Orlando seven straight times.
Meanwhile, Orlando had no response when its shooters went cold. Success from the 3-point line twice built the Magic double-digit margins, as they put up a season-high 31 3-pointers, making 11. But those leads quickly vanished when the shots stopped falling.
"I thought we got tired, especially our shooters," Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "The most disappointing part of the game was, we were great as long as we had a lead and right when they made a run, we had too many guys hanging their heads. You have to assume that the world champions will make a run."
Los Angeles trailed 77-75 entering the fourth quarter, but Bryant had eight points as the Lakers reeled off a 12-0 run.
"I was persistent tonight," said Bryant, who was 5-for-11 in the fourth quarter. Before that, he shot 4-for-12.
"Being persistent was the key for me because my shots weren't falling. I stayed aggressive and continued to go at 'em."
O'Neal then came back into the game, and the Magic had no answer inside, especially when their outside shooting went cold.
In the fourth quarter, Orlando shot 29 percent (7-for-24), including 2-for-8 from 3-point range.
"There were a lot of open shots out there and, you know, it's hard to turn them down sometimes," said Garrity, who set career highs for 3-pointers attempted (13) and made (six). "We got a little impatient when they made their run, and that's why they were able to build a little bit of a lead and hold on to it."
Garrity's outside stroke gave the Magic an 11-point advantage three minutes into the second half. He had eight straight points, including two 3-pointers, as Orlando outscored the Lakers 12-5 to open the third quarter for a 63-52 lead.
However, the Lakers quickly erased their second double-digit deficit of the game. Rick Fox had seven points in Los Angeles' 23-12 run, with Devean George's second 3-pointer of the quarter tying the score at 75 with 54 seconds left.
George finished with 13 points while Fox had 12.
While the Lakers were rallying, the Magic's outside shooting suddenly went cold. Orlando missed its last six 3-point tries of the period.
"I thought we came out at the beginning of the third quarter and got the pace we wanted," Rivers said. "Then we stopped running, we started walking the basketball up the floor, we started playing one-on-one basketball. I really thought we became an individual team, and I don't like that."
With 3:15 before halftime, Los Angeles tied the score at 42 on O'Neal's vicious dunk off Fox's lob. That got the sellout crowd excited following a blown open-court slam by Bryant.
O'Neal had 19 points in the first half on 9-for-13 shooting.
In the first quarter, Garrity, Darrell Armstrong and McGrady sank 3-pointers during an 11-0 run that put Orlando ahead 22-11 with 2:56 left.
The Magic were 7-for-15 on 3-pointers in the first half. Garrity led the way, sinking four on seven attempts en route to a 14-point opening half.
"Very seldom does a team shoot that well all four quarters," O'Neal said.
In the 10 games O'Neal has played against Orlando since leaving before the 1996-97 season, he's averaged 31.5 points and 15 rebounds. ... Orlando's Horace Grant missed the game because of an intestinal virus. Grant, who played for the NBA champion Lakers last season, is averaging 8.1 points and 6.4 rebounds. Don Reid started in his place. ... Grant's absence didn't go unnoticed in the Lakers' locker room. There, somebody wrote on the message board "Where's Horace? Shaq-arrhea." ... The sellout was Orlando's third of the season.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||41-88 (.466)||34-84 (.405)|
|3PM-3PA||6-17 (.353)||11-31 (.355)|
|FTM-FTA||23-36 (.639)||14-17 (.824)|
|Fast Break Points||6||12|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||16 (0/0)||25 (0/0)|