Tue, Mar 09, 2010 - Page 19 News List

NBA: Lakers remain under the Magic’s spell

‘GAME SEVEN’ The Orlando Magic withstood a fierce Lakers fightback at the end to hand Los Angeles their first three-game losing streak of the Pau Gasol era

AFP AND AP , ORLANDO, FLORIDA

The Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard, right, blocks a shot by Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers, center, while Orlando’s Vince Carter reaches for the ball during first half of their NBA game in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Vince Carter scored 25 points as the Orlando Magic held off a late rally to edge the Los Angeles Lakers 96-94 on Sunday in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals opponents.

The Lakers lost for the third time in a row, something they have not done since obtaining Spanish star Pau Gasol in February 2008, dropping their fourth consecutive road game to stand at 46-18, second best in the NBA.

“I’m worried about what we can do to win ball games,” Gasol said. “I’m not worried about streaks.”

Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson each added 15 points for the Magic, who won for the fifth time in a row.

The Lakers beat the Magic in January in Los Angeles, the first meeting between the clubs since the Lakers denied Orlando the title in last year’s NBA Finals.

“You could see it in everybody’s faces and everybody’s demeanor — everybody on that floor wanted to win that game,” Carter said. “It wasn’t just: ‘Yeah, OK, whatever.’ It was: ‘Let’s go get it.’ That game was game seven.”

Lakers star Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 34 points, 18 of them in the fourth quarter, despite a stomach illness that kept him on the bench much of the second quarter. He missed a final shot at the buzzer to seal the defeat.

“There are some things that, as an experienced team, we should not have happen to us,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “Those are the things we try to remedy, but today we were just a little bit off.”

Gasol, who scored 20 points, tipped in a Bryant miss to pull the Lakers within 93-89 with 48 seconds to play. Howard added a free-throw for Orlando, but Bryant responded with a three-pointer as Los Angeles pulled within 94-92.

Lakers standout Ron Artest — his hair dyed blonde with the word “defense” painted in purple in Hindi, Hebrew and Japanese — then fouled Nelson, who hit one-of-two free-throws to stretch the lead to 95-92.

Bryant sank a long shot thinking it was a game-tying three-pointer, but a video replay review showed his right foot was on the three-point arc and therefore the basket was only a two-pointer, leaving the Lakers one point down with 12.9 seconds remaining.

Carter was fouled with 9.7 seconds remaining and missed his first free-throw, but he hit the second free-throw to produce the final margin. Bryant missed at the buzzer and the Magic escaped with a victory.

CELTICS 86, WIZARDS 83

In Boston, Ray Allen scored a game-high 25 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer with 17.1 seconds remaining, as Boston rallied past Washington.

Boston trailed 79-66 with 6 minutes, 11 seconds remaining and responded with a 20-4 run to close out the game, with eight points from Allen and six from guard Rajon Rondo.

Al Thornton scored 24 points to lead the Wizards and Andray Blatche added 23 for Washington.

PISTONS 110, ROCKETS 107, OT

In Auburn, Michigan, Tayshaun Prince scored a season-high 29 points to help Detroit snap a six-game losing streak.

Richard Hamilton added 22 points for Detroit, while Kevin Martin had 27 points for Houston and Aaron Brooks scored 25. Martin and Brooks, though, both missed key three-point attempts in the last 10 seconds of overtime.

NUGGETS 118, TRAIL BLAZERS 106

In Denver, Colorado, Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points — his third consecutive game with at least 30 points — as Denver beat Portland for their third straight victory.

J.R. Smith added 22 points, Chauncey Billups had 21 points and Nene 14 for the Nuggets.

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