Francis, Magic rally past Lakers 122-113
Steve Francis scored a season-high 32 points, and Grant Hill added 27 points and 12 rebounds to rally the Orlando Magic to a 122-113 comeback victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
Comebacks are something Hill knows all about, having been severely hampered by an ankle injury during his first four seasons with the Magic. So trailing by 18 points against the Lakers was no big deal.
The Magic were behind 39-21 early in the second quarter but used an impressive performance from Francis and another encouraging outing from Hill to get back in the game.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers in scoring for the seventh consecutive game, finishing with a season-high 41 points on 14-of-31 shooting. He was 11-of-12 from the free throw line.
Bryant's three-point play with a little more than five minutes to play cut Orlando's lead to 107-103. But Hill hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 1:38 to play, giving the Heat a 116-106 lead.
He added another one with 28 seconds to play that sent the crowd into a frenzy and got him a well-deserved standing ovation.
Hill guarded Bryant much of the night and kept him from taking over the game, another sign that Hill's latest comeback from a series of ankle injuries the past few years could be his last.
His offense was even better.
He scored eight points in the second quarter to lead the comeback. He hit two outside jumpers and drove to the basket at will. His best play came when he grabbed a rebound on the baseline, spun to the center of the court and hit a shot as he started falling to the ground.
Then Francis took over, scoring the final nine points in the half.
His 18-foot fadeaway jumper put the Magic ahead, 50-49, with about two minutes to play in the half.
The Lakers reclaimed the lead early in the third, but Orlando used a 13-0 run to pull away for good. The Magic led 93-80 after three quarters. The highlight of the run was a no-look pass on the fastbreak from Hill to Hedo Turkoglu.
Hill finished with four assists and four steals, and had his first double-double of the season.
Entering this season, a stress fracture in Hill's left ankle limited him to 47 games since joining the Magic in 2000. In that time, Orlando never advanced out of the playoffs' first round in three tries and last year finished an embarrassing 21-61.
Turkoglu finished with 23 points.
Chucky Atkins had 21 points for the Lakers. Lamar Odom and Caron Butler chipped in 16 and 15, respectively.
Bryant's night wasn't without incident. He started jawing with a fan sitting courtside late in the first half, yelling obscenities and finally responding by saying, "You woke me up now."