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Magic stun Lakers 108-104, trim deficit to 2-1

ORLANDO, Florida (June 10) - The Orlando Magic stormed back into contention in the NBA Finals by knocking off the Los Angeles Lakers 108-104 on Tuesday, trimming the deficit in their best-of-seven series to 2-1.

Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis each scored 21 points to lead the Magic, who set a record in the championship round by connecting on nearly 63 percent of their

"Tonight we played more speed, more energy on the offensive end," said Magic point guard Rafer Alston, who scored 20 points. "We were able to get down the floor, push it, a lot of pick and roll, which is our game.

"The bad thing is we shot 62 and a half percent and almost lost the game, so we've got to find a way to defend these guys."

The Magic squandered a nine-point lead midway through the fourth quarter but held on for their first victory of an NBA Finals series.

"I've said it throughout the season and throughout these playoffs, the one thing that you can't question with our team is their resilience in situations like that, whether it's from game to game, minute to minute, our team will keep playing," a delighted Magic coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters.

Two foul shots by Lakers forward Pau Gasol with 2:41 left tied the score at 99-99 but a jam by Mickael Pietrus and a foul shot by Alston gave the Magic a 102-99 lead.

With the Lakers trailing 104-102 Kobe Bryant committed a costly turnover and then fouled Pietrus, who sank two free throws with 28.7 left to clinch the Magic victory.

"It was disappointing," said Bryant, last year's Most Valuable Player who is looking for his fourth championship ring. "I'm used to coming through in those situations, the team trusts me to come through in those situations, and it just didn't happen tonight."

Bryant played his worst game of the series, hitting only 11 of 25 shots while misfiring on half of his 10 free throw attempts. He also committed an uncharacteristic four turnovers.

source : reuters.com

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