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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, December 12th (All times eastern)

Orlando Magic (13-6) at Los Angeles Lakers (11-8), 9:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Orlando Magic try to make it three straight wins this evening when they continue their six-game road trip against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.

On Friday, Steve Francis poured in a game-high 36 points and added eight rebounds and eight assists to lead Orlando over Golden State, 113-109, at The Arena in Oakland.

Tony Battie posted 16 points and 15 boards for the Magic, who have won five of their last six games.

Francis, who was acquired in the blockbuster deal that sent Tracy McGrady to Houston this past offseason, has shined in Florida and leads the team with 21.5 points-per-game and 6.5 assists-a-contest.

All the news was not good, though, as the revitalized Grant Hill missed his first game of the season with a right shin contusion. Hill, who has been plagued by chronic injuries the last four seasons, has said that the injury is not serious and there is a chance he could be back in the lineup tonight.

Orlando, which will close its trek with stops in Phoenix and San Antonio, is 6-4 away from home this season.

Los Angeles also comes into tonight's contest on a winning note after Kobe Bryant had 37 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in an 89-87 win over the its crosstown rival Clippers on Saturday.

Lamar Odom chipped in with 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won two of three and four of their last six,

The Lakers led 75-70 early in the fourth quarter. But the Clippers reeled off nine straight points, capped by a Bobby Simmons jumper with 8:50 left, to go up 79-75.

However, the Lakers answered with a 9-1 burst, led by seven from Bryant, to go back in front 84-80 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the contest. The Clippers crept within one on a Simmons three-pointer, but could not pull even.

LA, which will hit the road for two games following tonight's contest, is 7-3 at home this season.

The Lakers lost to the Magic earlier in the season, but have won 10 of 12, 11 of 14 and 13 of the last 17 meetings. Orlando has also dropped seven straight on the Lakers floor and is just 2-13 all-time as the visitor in this series.

Orlando last won in LA versus the Lakers back on March 17, 1996.

12/12 10:07:35 ET


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