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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, January 16th (All times eastern)

Orlando Magic (31-8) at Los Angeles Lakers (31-7), 10:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two of the NBA's premier teams meet in Hollywood on Friday, when the class of the Pacific Division, the Los Angeles Lakers, host the Southeast Division-leading Orlando Magic at Staples Center.

The Lakers return home after splitting a two-day trek through Texas. In Wednesday's finale of the trip, San Antonio's Roger Mason's improbable three- point play with 10.5 seconds remaining boosted the Spurs to a dramatic 112-111 win over LA.

Kobe Bryant had 29 points and 10 assists for the Lakers and hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining. After a timeout, however, the Spurs went ahead thanks to an incredible shot from Mason.

Matt Bonner barely beat the five-second count and inbounded the ball to Mason, who drew contact from Derek Fisher and hit a line-drive shot from the left corner to even the game at 111. Mason, who ended with 18 points, then canned the subsequent free throw to win it.

Pau Gasol added 21 points for LA, which upended Houston the day before. Andrew Bynum tallied 18 points and Fisher 16 for the Lakers, who lost for the first time in five games.

Los Angeles will finish a quick two-game homestand on January 19 against another one of the NBA's elite, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Magic, meanwhile, improved to an NBA-best 15-5 on the road and 2-0 on their current four-game road trip Tuesday in Sacramento, where Dwight Howard poured in 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Orlando in a 139-107 rout over the Kings.

Jameer Nelson chipped in 23 points, 11 assists and five steals for the Magic, who set an NBA record with 23 made three-pointers in the game. Rashard Lewis tallied 19 points and J.J. Redick 15.

Hedo Turkoglu ended with 17 points and eight helpers for Orlando, which won its fifth straight game overall.

The Magic will finish their trek in Denver on Saturday.

The Lakers, who are a gaudy 20-2 at Staples Center this season, have lost two of their past three meetings with the Magic, including a tough 106-103 setback in Orlando on December 20. The Magic have lost 12 of their last 14 against the Lakers in Hollywood, however.

01/16 10:37:58 ET


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