L.A. Lakers 113, Orlando 110 (OT)
LOS ANGELES, March 15 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant
scored 37 of his 38 points
after halftime and set up Gary Payton's
go-ahead 3-pointer with
1:45 left in overtime as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied for a
113-110 triumph over the Orlando Magic.
NBA TV highlights from|
Bryant was 0-for-4 in the first half as Orlando opened a 61-50
advantage. The Magic built their lead to 19 points and took a
88-73 lead into the fourth quarter before Bryant took over on
Coach Phil Jackson felt using Bryant on McGrady would hurt the
Lakers' offense and was hesitant to make the move until Bryant
convinced him otherwise.
"He wanted to guard Tracy McGrady
coming out that halftime,"
Jackson said. "I told him I didn't want you expending all your
energy guarding McGrady and not have enough to finish this game
offensively. But he really scored most of points while he was
Again wearing a protective shirt beneath his jersey to harness
his sprained right shoulder, Bryant scored 24 of Los Angeles' 29
fourth-quarter points. He was dominant throughout the fourth
quarter on both ends, helping the Lakers rally from a huge
deficit vs. Orlando for the second time this season.
"I wanted to get something going," Bryant explained. "I felt
like we were coasting, not offensively, but defensively. So I
took on the chance to take on Tracy. Phil was a little hesitant
because he said he needed my offense but I assured him I could
do both. It was very fun."
Bryant forced overtime by going around three defenders for a
layup with 41.5 seconds left. He made 13-of-26 shots but his
biggest play may have been a pass to Payton that led to an open
3-pointer from the right side that gave Los Angeles the lead for
good at 113-110.
"We have done it before against much better ballclubs and
against a much larger deficit," Bryant said. "So there was
really no need to panic."
"It wasn't our best ballgame, but it certainly was exciting,"
Jackson added. "We needed all the energy the crowd could give us
and the play that Kobe had in him tonight as a basketball
player. He was exceptional in the second half."
McGrady dominanted Bryant most of the first three quarters as he
scored 37 points. But he scored just five points in fourth,
made just 13-of-32 shots overall and could not get off a
potential game-winning shot in time at the end of regulation.
McGrady guarded Bryant until picking up his fifth foul with 3:05
remaining and Orlando clinging to a 102-95 lead. With Orlando
coach Johnny Davis not taking the chance of McGrady fouling
out, Bryant hit a pair of free throws, a 3-pointer and a short
jumper before driving past three defenders to tie the game.
"I thought he did a good job on both ends," Davis said of
Bryant. "I thought he really competed and contested and made
Tracy work a lot harder in the fourth quarter and the overtime.
He also scored big for them when they needed him."
McGrady did little in overtime, often giving the ball up to
teammates. But after DeShawn Stevenson's
basket forged a
110-110 tie with 2:05 remaining, McGrady, Tyronn Lue
Stevenson missed shots that could have tied the game or given
Orlando a lead.
"I wasn't going to continue shooting the ball like that because
the defensive pressure from them was going to step up," McGrady
said. "I knew at some point in time the Lakers were going to
make a big run."
"We played a simliar game in Orlando where they kind of did the
same thing and made a late charge on us," said Davis, whose team
blew an 18-point lead against the Lakers on February 8.
Playing at full strength for just 24th time this season and
first time at home since December 21, the Lakers also got a huge
game from Shaquille O'Neal
, who finished with 27 points and 23