Bynum, Lakers Suffocating In Win Over Magic

The Lakers have won 10 of their last 11 games.

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Andrew Bynum, Strong Second Half Lead Lakers Over Magic, 97-84

Andrew Bynum provided the spark, and the Lakers were especially suffocating in the second half, pulling away to a 97-84 win over the Orlando Magic at Staples Center. The Lakers outscored Orlando 56-38 in the second half. It was the 10th win in their last 11 games for the Lakers, who now have three days off before their next contest.

Bynum tied a career high with 18 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end. The center was key in the Lakers' defensive effort, with four blocks and several challenges. Bynum, along with the help of Ron Artest, Matt Barnes, et al, forced nine turnovers by Dwight Howard. The night wasn't all bad for Howard, who had 22 points and 15 rebounds, but the Lakers made him work for it.

Bynum was aggressive right out of the gate, grabbing 11 rebounds, including six on the offensive end, and three blocks in the first quarter alone. However, the Lakers trailed by six after the first quarter, and they were down 46-41 at halftime. After shooting just 35.4% from the field in the first half, the Lakers cashed in many transition buckets and points off turnovers in the second half, and shot 53.7% from the field in the final 24 minutes.

Kobe Bryant played 31 minutes on a sprained left ankle, and scored 16 points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out four assists. Pau Gasol scored 23 points with five rebounds and five assists, and Lamar Odom added 16 points and seven boards off the bench.

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Magic: Kobe Bryant In Starting Lineup Despite Sprained Left Ankle

Kobe Bryant will play tonight for the Los Angeles Lakers as the host the Orlando Magic at Staples Center. Bryant, who sprained his ankle quite badly on Saturday in Dallas, was able to practice in the last two days, and is in tonight's lineup, as the Lakers try to win for the 10th time in their last 11 games. Bryant has played in every game so far this season.

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times caught up with forward Matt Barnes before the game, who summed up Kobe's mentality perfectly, saying of Bryant, "His foot would have to be cut off and put somewhere else for him not to play." Here are the starting lineups for tonight's game:

Magic (42-25)

Lakers (47-20)

After tonight, the Lakers have three days off before hosting Minnesota on Friday night at Staples Center.

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Magic: Kobe Bryant's Ankle "Much Better," But Still A Game-Time Decision

As the Los Angeles Lakers try for their 10th win in 11 games, against the Orlando Magic at Staples Center, it is still not known whether or not the Lakers will have Kobe Bryant tonight. Bryant sprained his left ankle on Saturday in Dallas, but has improved to the point where Phil Jackson said this morning that Bryant's ankle felt "much better," per Mike Trudell of NBA.com.

However, Bryant remains a game-time decision, however, so we likely won't know until within an hour of game time whether or not he is in the lineup. If Bryant doesn't start tonight, Shannon Brown would likely start in his place. Still, it seems likely that Bryant will play tonight, even though a day off would essentially allow him five days of rest, between Saturday's game and Friday's game against Minnesota.Bryant has started all 67 games so far this season.

Here are the probable starting lineups for tonight's game:

Magic (42-25)

Lakers (47-20)

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Magic: Andrew Bynum Faces Test In Dwight Howard

The Los Angeles Lakers tonight are looking for their 10th win in their last 11 games, and standing in their way is Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. Tonight is the first game of a seven-game homestand for the Lakers, who don't play another road game until April 1. The Lakers play 11 of their last 15 games at home.

Howard overpowered the Lakers on February 13 in Orlando, scoring 31 points and grabbing 13 boards in Orlando's 89-75 win. That game was a tale of two halves for the Lakers, who trailed at halftime 45-41, playing their third road game in four days, and Andrew Bynum was looking good. That is, until the second half.

February 13 in Orlando
Center First Half Second Half
Andrew Bynum 11 pts, 7 rebs 6 pts, 2 rebs
Dwight Howard      
9 pts, 5 rebs 22 pts, 8 rebs
Game Score ORL 45-41 ORL 44-34

The All-Star break came a week later, and since then Bynum has been outstanding. He has averaged 12.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game in the last 10 games, shooting 66.7% from the field. In his last five games, Bynum has made 26 of 33 field goals, a sizzling 78.8%. Over at Silver Screen and Roll, Dexter Fishmore is looking forward to tonight's matchup in the pivot:

As nifty as Drew's been since the All-Star break, he hasn't encountered an opponent as fearsome as Howard. That's because in the world of NBA big men, Howard's the unquestioned gold standard for fearsomeness. At age 25 (and doesn't it feel like he should be older?), the man's having the best season of his career. He's putting up 23 points a night on his customary 60% shooting while collecting 14 rebounds and over two blocks per game. He's the best defensive player in the world and has kept the Magic in the upper half of the East's playoff bracket despite season-long underperformance by many of his teammates. He's also gone out of his way to tamp down speculation that he'll opt out of his contract and attempt to join the Knicks or Lakers in the summer of 2012. Although Derrick Rose has captured the imagination of the media and seems likely to win MVP this year, if I had a vote and were forced to cast it right now, I'd punch my ballot for Dwight.

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Magic: With Or Without Kobe Bryant, Lakers Open Seven-Game Homestand

The Los Angeles Lakers open their longest homestand of the season tonight against the Orlando Magic, and the only question is whether or not Kobe Bryant will play. Bryant has a sprained left ankle and is a game-time decision tonight, technically listed as "questionable" by the team. Tonight is the first of seven straight home games for the Lakers, who don't have another road game until April 1.

The Lakers played 14 of their previous 17 games on the road, but now have a favorable home schedule the rest of the way. The team did win 10 of those 14 road games, and have the third-best road record in the NBA at 25-12. Their 25 road wins are the most in the league. Eleven of their final 15 games are at Staples Center.

Orlando destroyed the Suns in Phoenix on Sunday, 111-88, behind 26 points, 15 rebounds, and five blocked shots from Dwight Howard. The Magic had lost three of their last four games before that win. Tonight is the fourth game of a five-game road trip for Orlando. The Magic are 9-7 in the second night of back-to-back games.

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Kobe Bryant A Game-Time Decision For Monday's Game With Orlando

Kobe Bryant is a game-time decision, officially listed as questionable for the Lakers' game Monday night with the Orlando Magic at Staples Center. Bryant sprained his left ankle in the third quarter of Saturday night's win in Dallas over the Mavericks. While Lakers' fans everywhere collectively held their breath at the thought of losing their superstar, Bryant did too, telling reporters after the game, "I thought I was done. I was just praying that when I stood up, that my foot was lined straight."

With the Lakers fighting tooth and nail with Dallas for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, every game is important, especially against the playoff-bound Magic, who beat the Lakers last month in Orlando. However, after Monday's game, the Lakers are off until Friday, so resting Bryant for one game would effectively give him five full days of rest, counting Sunday.

The fact the Kobe was walking on the ankle after the game, even with a limp, bodes well for his chances, and his notoriously stubborn nature means it would not be a surprise to see him in uniform Monday night. Coach Phil Jackson sees the value of rest, but also sees the value of Kobe in the lineup too, telling Mike Trudell of NBA.com, "It’d be great to have him get three days off to get better, but if he’s capable of playing, he’ll play."

For more news and information on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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