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Lakers-Magic Preview

AP - Sports

The Orlando Magic are ready to put their first loss in almost two weeks behind them. They can start by adding to the Los Angeles Lakers' struggles on the road.

Looking to improve their recent play at the Amway Center, the Magic try to beat the Lakers in Orlando for the fourth consecutive year Friday night.

Orlando (10-4) was riding a five-game winning streak when - playing its third game in as many nights - it shot a season-low 33.3 percent in Wednesday's 85-83 overtime home loss.

While the victory was the first on the road all season for the Spurs, the Magic's home defeat was their second in three games.

"There's another game coming up, (we've) got to get this one behind us," Dwight Howard told the Magic's official website. "There are a lot of things that could have been better, but in the end we fought hard, we played a tough game and there's nothing more we can do about it."

The Magic will now try to continue their home success against Los Angeles (10-6), which has dropped its last three regular-season games at Orlando. The Lakers did win the final two games of the 2009 NBA Finals in Orlando to claim their first of two straight titles.

The teams split their two regular season meetings in 2010-11, with Orlando holding the Lakers to 39.3 percent shooting during an 89-75 home win Feb. 13.

Howard, who finished with 31 points and 13 rebounds in that contest, had 24 points and 25 boards in Wednesday's loss to San Antonio for his fourth 20-20 game this season.

Howard is averaging 26.3 points and 19.3 rebounds in his last four home games.

The Magic, however, have been held to 83 points in each of their last two home losses, sandwiching a 96-89 victory over Charlotte on Tuesday.

Despite struggling to make shots against the Spurs, the Magic felt they could easily have come out ahead.

"We just came up short in the end,'' Howard said. "Third game in a row, (we) fought hard for the whole game. So there's nothing bad you can say about (Wednesday's) game.''

Los Angeles is giving up 98.8 points per game on the road while scoring just 91.3, going 1-5 away from home.

The Lakers scored a road season low Thursday, falling 98-87 at Miami while shooting 42.0 percent. Pau Gasol scored 26 points, Kobe Bryant had 24 and Andrew Bynum added 15 and 12 rebounds.

"We tried to adjust to some things,'' said Bryant, who has totaled 38 points in his last two games after scoring 40 or more in each of his previous four. "We might want to go back to some of the things that we were doing a few weeks ago in terms of me being on some spots on the floor and things where I'm most comfortable.''

Bryant, who leads the NBA with 30.4 points per game, was held to 17 in the road loss to the Magic last season. Prior to that performance, Bryant had averaged 31.6 points in his previous seven regular season and playoff games at Orlando.

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