Lakers vs Orlando: Lakers run over Magic
Lakers 97, Magic 84 (final)
The Lakers' victory train just keeps right on rolling, this time getting revenge against an Orlando Magic team that beat them last month.
The Lakers have won 10 of their 11 games since the All-Star break, the only loss coming at Miami last week.
Four of the five Lakers starters scored in double figures. Reserve forward Lamar Odom added 16 points to make it five Lakers in double figures.
Pau Gasol led the way for L.A. with 23 points.
Kobe Bryant had 16 points on seven-for-19 shooting despite playing with a sprained left ankle. Bryant left the game with 3:37 left and went directly to the locker room after playing 30 minutes.
Andrew Bynum had another monster game on the backboards, tying his career high with 18 rebounds, nine on offensive. He also had 10 points and four blocked shots.
Derek Fisher had 15 points and two steals in 30 minutes.
The Lakers opened a 77-66 lead early in the third quarter on back-to-back three-pointers by Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes.
Both were assisted by Steve Blake, something he has been doing a lot lately.
That was the start of a Lakers run and the start of the Magic calling two timeouts in a two-minute span.
The Lakers lead grew to 85-69 after Lamar Odom made a three-pointer, forcing Orlando Coach Stan Van Gundy to call a timeout with 7:14 left.
Lakers 71, Magic 66 (end of third quarter)
Kobe Bryant, who was two-for-10 shooting with four points in the first half, went to work in the third quarter.
Derek Fisher continued to contribute for the Lakers, scoring five of his 15 points in the third.
Andrew Bynum had just picked up his second consecutive offensive rebound, turning the last into a three-point play after he scored while being fouled.
But Bynum picked up his fourth foul with 8:16 left in third trying to help out on Ryan Anderson.
Bynum looked to the Lakers' bench, knowing that he was coming out of the game.
Magic 46, Lakers 41 (end of first half)
The Lakers got 11 points from Pau Gasol and 10 from Derek Fisher in the first half, allowing them to close to within five points at the half.
Kobe Bryant had four points on two-for-10 shooting.
When Andrew Bynum chased down an offensive rebound and kept the ball from going out of bounds, Dwight Howard patted his counterpart at center on the back.
Bynum and Howard looked at each other and smiled.
It seemed as if the two were enjoying the challenge of playing against each other.
The only problem Bynum had was picking up his third foul with two minutes 54 seconds left in the second quarter.
He went to the bench with 12 rebounds, six points and four blocked shots.
It meant that Gasol had to deal with Howard in the low post.
Howard finished the first half with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Magic 25, Lakers 19 (end of first quarter)
Lakers fans were excited to see Kobe Bryant playing Monday night against Orlando despite a sprained left ankle.
But Lakers fans seemed more excited to see the job center Andrew Bynum did on Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard.
Bynum blocked two of Howard's shots in the first quarter, drawing cheers from the fans at Staples Center.
Bynum had 11 rebounds in the first quarter, six offensive.
He also had three blocked shots to go along with six points.
Howard had three points, four rebounds and one blocked shot in the first quarter.
It wasn't so much that Bryant's offense suffered because of his sprained left ankle. It was more his defense.
Bryant was assigned to defend Orlando guard Jason Richardson, who is a good three-point shooter.
The times that Bryant failed to get out to Richardson, the Magic guard made Bryant pay by knocking down three-pointers.
Richardson had eight points in the first quarter, making two three-pointers.
Bryant had four points on two-for-six shooting.
The big question presented to Lakers Coach Phil Jackson before Monday night's game against the Orlando Magic was whether or not Kobe Bryant would play on his sprained left ankle.
"I have a sense, but I don't know," Jackson said.
Was his "sense" that Bryant will play, or won't play?
"He will," Jackson responded.
Bryant, indeed, took the court with the rest of the Lakers' starters.
Before the game, Jackson said he hadn't checked with Bryant when the two arrived at Staples Center.
"I just trust the fact that he's going to be out there," Jackson said.
Bryant was injured during the third quarter of Saturday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks when he landed awkwardly after jumping for a loose ball.
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum snags a rebound in front of Magic center Dwight Howard in the first half Monday night at Staples Center. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters