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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Magic take bite out of Lakers in rematch

ORLANDO (AP) Dwight Howard was barking in the locker room, mocking some Lakers he claimed called his Orlando Magic team "puppies."

News photo
Magic act: Orlando center Dwight Howard goes up for a shot against Lakers forward Pau Gasol during the first half of the Magic's 96-94 victory. AP PHOTO

Out on the court, the Magic showed they can bite.

Vince Carter had 25 points, Howard finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds and the Magic beat the Lakers 96-94 on Sunday to hand Los Angeles its first three-game losing streak of the Pau Gasol-Kobe Bryant Era.

"Alpha dogs usually have the big bark," Howard said afterward. "But since we're so-called puppies, we won't bark as loud."

Carter made his first 13 free throws and kept the Magic in control, showing why Orlando made the move for the eight-time All-Star after losing to the Lakers in last year's finals.

Throw feisty Matt Barnes into the mix to add some physicality, and the Magic finally got some reprieve from the sting a finals failure that has yet to wash away.

"You could see it in everybody's faces and everybody's demeanor," Carter said. "Everybody on that floor wanted to win that game. It wasn't just, 'Yeah, OK, whatever.' It was, 'Let's go get it.' That game was Game 7."

Bryant played through a minor stomach illness to score 34 points, and Gasol added 20 for the Lakers. But they all walked to the locker room distraught and dejected after Bryant missed a 20-footer at the buzzer to seal their latest loss.

Even being in the same locker room where they toasted to the title trophy, there might not be a time this season that champagne-soaked championship celebration last June felt so distant.

"There are some things that, as an experienced team, we should not have happen to us," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Those are the things we try to remedy, but today we were just a little bit off."

Celtics 86, Wizards 83

In Boston, Ray Allen scored a game-high 25 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 17.1 seconds remaining, and the Celtics rallied past Washington.

Boston trailed 79-66 with 6:11 remaining and responded with a 20-4 run to close out the game with eight points from Allen and six from guard Rajon Rondo.

Al Thornton scored 24 points to lead the Wizards and Andray Blatche added 23 for Washington.

Pistons 110, Rockets 107

In Auburn Hills, Mich., Tayshaun Prince scored a season-high 29 points to help Detroit snap a six-game losing streak.

Richard Hamilton added 22 points for Detroit, while Kevin Martin had 27 points for Houston and Aaron Brooks scored 25. Martin and Brooks, though, both missed key 3-point attempts in the last 10 seconds of overtime.

Rodney Stuckey did not play, two days after collapsing on the bench during Detroit's loss in Cleveland. Pistons coach John Kuester said Stuckey was still undergoing tests and the team expected to know more about his status within 48 hours.

76ers 114, Raptors 101

In Toronto, Thaddeus Young scored a career-high 32 points, Jrue Holiday had 21 and Philadelphia beat the Raptors to snap a five-game losing streak.

Andre Iguodala had 16 points and 10 assists and Elton Brand had 12 points and nine rebounds for the 76ers, who went 9-for-12 from 3-point range. Louis Williams added 12 points.

Thunder 108, Kings 102

In Sacramento, Kevin Durant had 27 points and eight rebounds and Oklahoma City beat Sacramento.

The road victory was the seventh in nine games for the Thunder, who are 3-1 against the Kings this season.

Nuggets 118, Trail Blazers 106

In Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points — his third consecutive game with at least 30 points — and the Nuggets beat Portland for their third straight victory.

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