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Magic 114, Lakers 105: Tobias Harris dominates as Orlando downs L.A.

The third-year forward had one of the best games of his career Friday.

Pau Gasol and Tobias Harris
Pau Gasol and Tobias Harris
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic earned their second win of 2014 on Friday by topping the Los Angeles Lakers by a 114-105 final score, using a key defensive stand late in the third quarter to pull away: the Lakers went scoreless over the final 3:34 of that period, allowing Orlando to take an 11-point lead without seriously looking back .

Tobias Harris starred for Orlando, tallying 28 points and a career-high 20 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double and his sixth of the season overall. Victor Oladipo excelled in pushing the ball ahead, finishing with 15 points and a career-best 12 rebounds with five assists for his fourth double-double. Arron Afflalo added an efficient 23 points in arguably his strongest performance of January.

Kendall Marshall stuffed L.A.'s stat sheet with 19 points and 14 assists. Jodie Meeks and Pau Gasol added 17 and 21 points, respectively.

The Lakers lived up to their high-octane billing in the first quarter, getting 32 points on 63 percent effective field-goal shooting. Eight of the nine L.A. players to take the floor made at least one basket, with Marshall orchestrating the show: he scored or assisted on nine of L.A.'s 13 first-quarter hoops. Notably, the Lakers didn't commit any miscues in the first quarter.

Orlando had a solid first quarter as well, reaping the rewards of Harris' mismatch against the slow-footed rookie Ryan Kelly. Harris attacked him and drew an easy foul on Orlando's first trip; three possessions later, he scooped in a layup around the Duke product. Kelly had no hope of keeping Harris in front of him, and the Magic ran their offense accordingly.

The Magic stiffened their defense in the second, yielding only 22 points to L.A., and three of them came on a Wesley Johnson corner look with two seconds to play. After falling behind by as much as eight in the second frame, an energetic Magic group--made up of Oladipo, Doron Lamb, Maurice Harkless, Harris, and Kyle O'Quinn--went on a 13-0 run spanning three minutes. This group excels at pushing the pace and attacking the paint, and Lamb at least adds a reasonable three-point threat.

By the time Oladipo connected on a long two-pointer for the Magic's first points of the second half, the Lakers had scored seven straight points to take a nine-point lead, their largest of the night to that point. Oladipo's pull-up seemed to rattle the lid off the basket, however, as Orlando scored three points on each of its next three possessions to cut L.A.'s lead to one. The two evenly matched lottery teams continued to trade blows throughout the period, with neither team able to string together many stops in a fast-paced, aesthetically pleasing period. Harris ignited the crowd by laying in a between-the-legs feed from Oladipo as Marshall fouled him.

That play appeared to spark the Magic, with Harris finding Glen Davis for an elbow jumper on the Magic's next trip and Afflalo following that play with a corner three off a Davis offensive rebound. Orlando closed the period on a 14-0 run overall to take a 91-80 lead entering the final frame.

The teams got off to a slow start to the fourth quarter, but back-to-back fastbreak conversions by Lamb and Oladipo put the Magic up 12, their largest lead of the night, with 7:23 to go; prior to those baskets, the Magic had shot 0-of-4 with four turnovers in the period.

Fortunately for them, the Lakers were no great shakes either, going 3-of-7 with three turnovers themselves. The Magic hadn't quite put L.A. away with five minutes to go, but it was clear that they'd need only a few more stops to do so. After a Marshall triple cut the Magic's lead to six, Jameer Nelson answered with a three of his own, and Orlando followed it up with an O'Quinn dunk to put the Magic up 11.

Though L.A. drew to within seven on two subsequent occasions, Nelson shut the door on its comeback bid for good by draining a three-pointer over Kelly with 1:05 to play, putting Orlando up 10 points. Gasol threw the ball away on the Lakers' next trip.