Saturday, December 24, 2005

Magic Lose Howard; Fall to Lakers

Dwight Howard left the game in the third minute with an ankle injury and the Orlando Magic dropped their fourth straight, 104-88 to the Los Angeles Lakers Friday at TD Waterhouse Centre. Kobe Bryant scored 21 points and Laker center Chris Mihm added 20, missing just one of his nine tries from the floor.

Howard limped off the court and into the locker room with a sprained right ankle. Mihm took advantage by ruling the paint, not missing until five minutes left in the game.

The Magic fell behind without Howard but then rallied in the middle of the second quarter to take the lead, only to see L.A. reel off a 17-1 to close the half and lead 54-40.

Steve Francis had one of his better recent games, scoring 28 points. Trying to provide an inside presence with Howard out, Tony Battie scored nine points and added eight rebounds in his most extensive action of the season (34 minutes).

After a 62-point effort in his last game Bryant took a decidedly different approach and in fact only attempted two field goals after scoring eight points in the first quarter. The Magic trailed by as many as 19 and never got he margin down to single digits in the second half.

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NOTE: The Magic are now 9-15 on the season.