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Jones, Bryant work over Magic

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- In another episode of "How the Lakers
Turn," Kobe Bryant accused Karl Malone of making a pass at his
wife.

Bryant then went out and had 23 points, eight rebounds and six
assists in Los Angeles' 105-98 victory over Orlando on Sunday
night.

Bryant, who feuded with Shaquille O'Neal in the past, said it
was difficult to deal with the conflict with Malone.

"But I've been through a lot and my family's been through a
lot, and we're just trying to put it behind us and move on," he
said.

While Bryant went just 6-of-23 from the floor, his teammates
picked up the slack. Jumaine Jones hit seven of his eight 3-point
shots and finished with 25 points, and Chris Mihm had 25 points and
14 rebounds.

The Lakers had to overcome a 27-point, 13-assist game by
Orlando's Steve Francis, who also had seven rebounds.

Bryant talked about the feud with Malone before the game, saying
he had phoned his former teammate after Vanessa Bryant told her
husband on Nov. 23 that Malone made inappropriate comments to her
that night at the game at Staples Center.

Bryant said he called Malone and told him, "Stay away from my
wife. What's wrong with you? How could you?"

Malone was unavailable for comment Sunday.

According to his agent, Dwight Manley, Malone said he had never
made a pass at Bryant's wife, that he initially was surprised at
the accusation, and that he apologized to both Bryant and his wife
for any remarks she may have considered inappropriate.

"Karl's response to Kobe's comments today is that he's a
basketball player and not a soap opera actor and he doesn't intend
to be involved in a personal soap opera," Manley said of his
client.

Jones scored 22 of his points in the second quarter, when he
went 6-of-6 from 3-point range.

The Lakers outscored Orlando 11-4 over the final 4:05 to pull
away from an 84-all tie.

Jones, who finished 9-of-11 from the field, gave the Lakers a
100-96 lead with 2 minutes remaining with his final 3-pointer. Los
Angeles put the game away with five free throws, three by Bryant,
in the last minute.

"Jumaine came in and was on fire," Bryant said. "We razzed
him a little bit because he missed a wide-open jumper last game,
and he came back tonight and more than redeemed himself for it."

After trailing much of the game, the Lakers took the lead at
66-65 on Mihm's layup 2 minutes into the third quarter. A driving
layup by Francis in the closing seconds of the period sent the game
into the final quarter tied at 84.

Jones's big second quarter helped the Lakers come back from 12
points down to narrow the gap to 59-56 by halftime.

"He had a Kobe-like performance in the first half," Magic
coach Johnny Davis said of Jones. "We just never got him under
control. Then he hit a big one in the second half that kind of put
it out of reach."

Grant Hill, who scored 16 for Orlando, said the Lakers have
improved since the Magic's win over them last month.

"If they can get guys to step up on different nights in
addition to Kobe's play, they are going to win some games," Hill
said.

Game notes
The Lakers blew an 18-point lead and lost 122-113 at
Orlando on Nov. 12. Bryant had 41 points in the win, while Francis
scored 32 for the Magic. ... Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich, who
coached Francis at Houston, said, "It's scary sometimes what he
can do with the ball."