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Lakers dazzle Magic
In his first game since dropping 62 on the Mavs, Kobe Bryant scores a mere 21 in 104-88 win.
Published December 24, 2005
ORLANDO - The Los Angeles Lakers refused to get caught looking ahead to their Christmas game at Miami.
Kobe Bryant had 21 points and nine assists, and Chris Mihm scored 20 as the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic 104-88 on Friday night.
The Lakers were asked repeatedly beforehand if they'd dismissed Orlando as an easy win, instead looking toward the heavily advertised Bryant, Jackson and Shaquille O'Neal reunion.
"We haven't even talked about Miami, so this has been about playing the other team," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
In his first game since scoring a career-high 62 points against Dallas on Tuesday night, Bryant was 6-of-16 from the field. Lamar Odom had 18 points, six assists and eight rebounds, and Smush Parker added 16 points, five assists and five rebounds for Los Angeles.
Every Lakers starter scored in double figures.
"It was the way the game played out. We had guys open, there were situations that were going right," Jackson said.
Bryant said he was tired of talking about his rivalry with O'Neal.
"They've got a lot of talented players. We just do what we do," he said. "We just go out and play in our system, play together, and see what happens. But it's really no big deal. I don't care. I play hard no matter what."
Orlando played all but the first few minutes without forward Dwight Howard, who limped into the locker room 2:42 into the first quarter with a sprained right ankle. X-rays were negative, and it was unclear when Howard would be back in the Magic lineup.
Howard said he rolled his ankle after stepping on another player's foot.
"I twirled a little bit, but I'll be all right," he said.
Besides missing his 14.7 points and 13 rebounds, Howard's absence also opened up the middle for Mihm.
The 7-footer hit from inside and out, going 8-of-9. He didn't miss a shot until a 15-foot jumper with 4:51 left in the fourth quarter. He fouled out with 2:16 left.
Steve Francis led Orlando with 28 points and nine assists. Grant Hill had 13 points and eight rebounds, and DeShawn Stevenson had 11 points and eight rebounds.