Final / OT

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 2/8

Game 1: Sunday, February 8th
Game 2: Monday, March 15th

Magic 110

(19-50, 9-26 away)

Lakers 113

(44-23, 25-5 home)

Coverage: FSW

7:30 PM ET, March 15, 2004

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

1 2 3 4 OT T
ORL 34 27 27 14 8110
LAL 27 23 23 29 11113

Top Performers

Orl: T. McGrady 37 Pts, 7 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Blk

LAL: S. O'Neal 27 Pts, 23 Reb, 3 Ast, 5 Blk

Lakers move into third past Spurs with OT win

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- After coming up with one of the NBA's most notable offensive performances of the season, Kobe Bryant preferred to talk about his defensive effort.

Bryant scored 26 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and put the clamps on Tracy McGrady during that time as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the Orlando Magic 113-110 Monday night.

Shaquille O'Neal had 27 points and a season-high 23 rebounds for the Lakers, who overcame a 19-point deficit late in the third period thanks mainly to Bryant, who scored all but one of his points after halftime.

McGrady, the NBA's leading scorer, had 37 points to give him 139 in the last three games. But he scored only five in the fourth quarter and overtime, when he was guarded by Bryant.

"I think of myself as a throwback -- not only can I score the basketball, I can keep people from scoring," Bryant said. "It was very fun. I love those matchups."

Gary Payton, who had 12 points and nine assists, made a 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:44 remaining to snap a 110-all tie and complete the scoring.

DeShawn Stevenson's 3-pointer at the buzzer fell far short.

Juwan Howard had a season-high 29 points and nine rebounds and Stevenson scored 18 for the Magic. McGrady also had seven rebounds and 10 assists.

Bryant guarded McGrady only occasionally until the fourth quarter.

"He wanted to guard McGrady coming out of halftime, but I felt like we needed his offense," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "But he really scored most of his points while he was guarding McGrady."

McGrady said he looks forward to playing against Bryant.

"It's a challenge, and you've just got to step up to his level," he said. "When you're one of the elite players in the league, sometimes you can get away with things on the defensive end that a lot of people can't get away with.

"But he's great on individual defense. He does a great job moving his feet, moving his hands, and he's quick."

Bryant scored the last 10 points of the fourth quarter, capped by a left-handed layup with 41.5 seconds remaining to tie it at 102 and force overtime.

McGrady and Bryant each missed shots after that. The Magic got the ball back with 1.8 seconds left and McGrady made a wild bank shot from about 25 feet away, but he didn't release it before time expired.

Bryant had the Lakers' final 15 points and 24 of their 29 in the quarter. His 24 points tied a franchise record for points in a quarter set by Elgin Baylor in 1960 and equaled by Jerry West two years later.

"That's cool, man. That's great company," Bryant said.

Karl Malone, playing his first home game and third overall since being sidelined nearly three months with a knee injury, pointed to Bryant's defense as a key to the comeback victory.

"That's definitely the best defense I've seen him play since I've been here," Malone said. "In overtime, everybody had a hand in it. He got us to overtime."

The game was similar to the one between the teams in Orlando last month, when the Lakers trailed by 18 points in the third quarter and 14 entering the final period before rallying for a 98-96 victory. The Magic led 88-73 entering the fourth quarter in this game.

By winning for the sixth time in eight games, the Lakers (44-23) moved a season-high 21 games over .500 and into third place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of San Antonio.

The loss was the sixth in eight games for the Magic (19-50), who are an NBA-high 31 games below .500.

A basket by Bryant early in the third quarter -- just his second in 10 attempts -- cut Orlando's lead to seven points.

But the Magic responded by going on an 20-8 run for an 87-68 lead with 1{ minutes left in the period. McGrady had 10 points and Howard six during the spurt.

Game notes

An MRI performed on Lakers F-C Horace Grant showed an abnormality in the area of his right hip. The 38-year-old Grant, averaging 4.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 55 games, will see a specialist. The Lakers said they can't estimate how long he'll be sidelined until that time. "Knowing me, I'm expecting to play again this season," said Grant, who has missed seven of the last eight games. ... The game was the first of nine straight for the Lakers at Staples Center including Wednesday night's contest against the Clippers, which is designated as a road game. ... The Lakers have played an NBA-low 30 home games. They had played 21 of their previous 28 on the road. ... Orlando's 34 points were the most allowed by the Lakers in a first quarter this season. ... The Lakers are 13-0 at Staples Center against Eastern Conference teams this season. ... The Magic made 23 of their first 35 shots but only 22 of their last 55.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 110 113
FGM-FGA 43-90 (.478) 41-92 (.446)
3PM-3PA 4-18 (.222) 3-16 (.188)
FTM-FTA 20-31 (.645) 28-48 (.583)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-47 23-55
Assists 25 19
Turnovers 13 7
Steals 3 4
Blocks 3 10
Fast Break Points 1 5
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 33 (1/0) 26 (2/0)

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Tracy McGrady McGrady
Points: 37
Reb: 7
Ast: 10
Stl: 0
Blk: 2
Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 27
Reb: 23
Ast: 3
Stl: 0
Blk: 5