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Bryant, Parker carry Lakers over Magic

Dec 28, 2006 - 6:02 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- The Magic Kingdom was much kinder than South Beach to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant had 27 points and seven assists and Smush Parker dominated the third quarter as the Lakers posted a 101-93 victory over the struggling Orlando Magic.

Los Angeles suffered its third straight Christmas Day defeat to the Miami Heat on Monday, with Bryant scoring 16 points on awful 4-of-17 shooting.

On Wednesday, the 6-6 Bryant connected on 8-of-22 shots and made 11-of-12 free throws. He also collected two steals.

"We played with a lot of poise," Bryant said. "We got down and especially coming off a tough loss, we were able to hang in there and gain momentum back."

The Lakers have won four straight meetings against the Magic and 14 of their last 16 in the series.

Parker was impressive in the third quarter, scoring 18 of his season-high 20 points to help the Lakers grab a 79-73 lead entering the final period. He made 7-of-8 shots in the quarter.

"We just ran our offense. We executed our offense and got some open looks and I was able to put it down," Parker said. "We stayed focused and executed our defensive plan, and offensive in the second half."

"He (Parker) was aggressive and got some things to happen for him," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He pushed the ball and came off screens and got to the hoop. He made plays."

Prior to Parker's third-quarter outburst, he was stuck watching from the bench during the entire second quarter.

"I wasn't too thrilled with my effort in the first half," Parker said. "Sasha (Vujacic) came out and played well so he got most of the minutes. (Jackson) went with his gut instinct."

Orlando cut the lead to 83-80 with 9:18 remaining, but Andrew Bynum scored two consecutive baskets, sparking a 10-3 surge and creating a 10-point edge.

The Magic were never able to challenge thereafter.

"I think we took more jump shots than we should have, we have to regroup," Orlando guard Jameer Nelson said. "We have to get our focus back that swagger back. Everybody is talking about (losing) our confidence. We just need to remember who we are and what we do as a team."

Bynum scored 13 points off the bench and Luke Walton and Kwame Brown added 10 apiece for the Lakers, who 50 percent (38-of-76) from the floor.

Grant Hill scored 20 points and Dwight Howard added 12 and eight rebounds for Orlando, which has dropped nine of 13 games since starting the season 13-4.

"It's frustrating. We can't get a win at home," Howard said. "We know that hard work pays off in the end, so we just have to keep working and get over whatever we're going through right now."

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