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Nelson's Magic overcomes Lakers

JAMEER Nelson scored 15 of his team-high 28 points in the decisive fourth quarter to help the visiting Orlando Magic sting the Los Angeles Lakers 109-103 on Friday.

Nelson's late-game heroics, coupled with Dwight Howard's 25 points and 20 rebounds, allowed the Magic to withstand a triple-double by reigning MVP Kobe Bryant.

Nelson drained a three-point shot with 35 seconds remaining to give Orlando a 104-103 edge, and added four free throws down the stretch.

The Magic have claimed both of their matchups with the Lakers this season and won their sixth straight overall.

"We played hard for four quarters and beat a tough team," Howard told reporters. "We're trying to get better every day, and every team we play from now on will be great - we have to answer the challenge."

Bryant recorded 28 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for the 15th triple-double of his career in the loss, going cold in the fourth quarter where he shot just 3-for-12.

His potential game-tying three-pointer with 10 seconds left hit the rim but would not drop into the basket.

"He had good looks. Some nights they're not going to go in," said Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson. "Defense has to be the thing that carries you night in and night out. When shots don't go in, you play defense and stop a team."

It was the second consecutive late-game loss for the Lakers (31-8), who fell to the San Antonio Spurs 112-111 on Wednesday on a last-second shot.

The surging Magic were coming off a record performance on Tuesday when they made an NBA-best 23 three-pointers in a 139-107 rout of the Sacramento Kings. The Magic drained five three-pointers in a back-and-forth final quarter to outlast the Western-Conference leading Lakers.

Rashard Lewis had 16 points and four triples and Hedo Turkoglu had 13 for Orlando.

Orlando trailed 52-44 at halftime but pulled to within one point through three quarters.

In Cleveland, LeBron James shook off a cold and a poor prior performance to star in Cleveland's 92-78 win over New Orleans. James finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists one night after he went 8-of-28 and had eight turnovers in an overtime loss at Chicago. The win made it an even 20 unbeaten at home for Cleveland this season.

New Orleans was called for five technical fouls, and had two players ejected in the final two minutes.

In Philadelphia, the hosts notched a sixth straight win by cruising past San Antonio 109-87.

Thaddeus Young scored a career-high 27 points and Andre Iguodala added 21 for the 76ers, who surprisingly pulled away late against the Southwest Division-leading Spurs.

In Oakland, California, Jamal Crawford scored 29 points, including the go-ahead basket in the final three minutes, to help Golden State overcome Atlanta 119-114. The Hawks lost for the fifth time in six games.

In Memphis, Tennessee, Utah extended its dominance of Memphis with a seventh-straight defeat - 101-91.

Deron Williams scored 27 points and Ronnie Brewer added 21 as the Jazz snapped a five-game road skid for Utah, which was coming off a humbling 22-point loss to lowly Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

In other action, it was: Timberwolves 105, Suns 103; Pacers 111, Raptors 104; Bucks 129, Kings 122; Thunder 89, Pistons 79; and Wizards 96, Knicks 89.


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