Shaquille O'Neal bullied the undersized Magic early and Kobe
Bryant blew past them late as the Lakers won 111-93 Wednesday
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
"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
"Very seldom does a team shoot that well all four quarters,"
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.