ORLANDO, Fla. - Missing for two games, Orlando found its Magic touch.

Making easy shots and tough ones from everywhere, the Magic won their first game in two visits to the NBA Finals last night as Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis scored 21 points apiece in a 108-104 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3.

The Lakers lead the best-of-seven series, two games to one. Game 3 is tomorrow night at Amway Arena.

Orlando shot a Finals record 63 percent - including another Finals record 75 percent in the first half - to snap a six-game Finals losing streak and avoid falling into an 0-3 hole that no team in NBA postseason history has been able to escape.

Kobe Bryant, seeking a fourth title and his first since 2002, scored 31 points for the Lakers, but the superstar had just 10 points in the second half and went only 4 of 15 from the field after the first quarter. He also missed five free throws.

With their season 48 minutes from all but disappearing, the Magic, hosting their first Finals game since 1995, had five players score at least 18 points. Rafer Alston, who was just 3 of 17 from the field in the first two games, scored 20 and Hedo Turkoglu and Mickael Pietrus 18 each.

"We've got to play like this," Howard said of the balanced scoring. "When guys are attacking, we're tough to guard.

"We moved the ball a lot tonight," he said. "We got some good shots. We didn't rush anything."

Pau Gasol scored 23 points but had just three rebounds, and the Lakers were only 16 of 26 from the line.

For a while, it appeared that the Magic, who shot just 36 percent while dropping Games 1 and 2 at Staples Center, could not miss.

From 20 feet, swish.

From 10 feet, nothing but net.

Layups, runners, banks, pull-ups, didn't matter. You name it, if it went up, more times than not it went in.

"Well, it was going in the basket. That always works," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "That formula's always tried and true."

Orlando made 24 of 32 shots in the first half and only cooled off a little in the third quarter as it entered the fourth at a 65 percent clip and clinging to an 81-75 lead.

Bryant sat out the first 4 minutes, 47 seconds of the fourth, and when he finally subbed in, the Lakers were still down by five and unable to do anything to stop the Magic's marksmanship.

But then, Orlando began to misfire at the worst time possible.

After Pietrus was long with a wide-open three, Gasol was fouled at the other end and made two free throws to make it 99 all with 2:41 remaining. Orlando's rowdy crowd, which waited 14 years for a chance to welcome the Larry O'Brien Trophy to town, grew nervous.

"Oh, boy," muttered one fan near the media section.

But Pietrus calmed fears by dunking in a rare miss to put the Magic up two, and when Lewis hit a jumper, Orlando was up, 104-101.

Howard was called for a questionable foul on a drive by Bryant, who then split his two free throws.

The Lakers got the basketball back when Lewis missed a baseline jumper and the rebound went off him and out of bounds.

Bryant, who scored 17 in the first quarter and 21 by halftime, then maybe tried to do too much. He crossed over to get past Pietrus, but Howard, the league's defensive player of the year known mostly for his blocks underneath, made like a point guard and tipped the ball away. Pietrus was fouled and made both to make it 106-102.

L.A. Lakers 31 23 21 29 – 104

Orlando 27 32 22 27 – 108

   FG   FT   Reb   

L.A. LAKERS Min   M-A   M-A   O-T   A   PF   Pts   

Ariza 41:31   5-13   1-2   3-7   1   4   13

Gasol 39:47   9-11   5-6   1-3   1   3   23

Bynum 23:20   2-6   0-1   2-4   1   2   4

Fisher 32:03   4-9   0-0   1-3   2   2   9

Bryant 40:16   11-25   5-10   1-3   8   5   31

Odom 32:23   4-6   3-5   1-2   1   4   11

Farmar 15:57   4-6   2-2   1-3   0   1   11

Mbenga 0:17   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0

Vujacic 3:10   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   1   0

Walton 11:16   1-1   0-0   1-2   2   3   2

Totals 240:00   40-78   16-26   11-27   16   25   104

Percentages: FG .513, FT .615. 3-Point Goals: 8-23, .348 (Bryant 4-9, Ariza 2-7, Farmar 1-3, Fisher 1-4). Team Rebounds: 15. Team Turnovers: 13 (16 Pts). Blocked Shots: 3 (Gasol 2, Odom). Turnovers: 13 (Bryant 4, Farmar 2, Odom 2, Walton 2, Ariza, Bynum, Gasol). Steals: 6 (Ariza 2, Bynum, Fisher, Gasol, Odom). Technical Fouls: None.

   FG   FT   Reb   

ORLANDO Min   M-A   M-A   O-T   A   PF   Pts   

Turkoglu 42:14   7-12   3-4   1-6   7   3   18

Lewis 41:29   8-14   2-2   1-5   5   4   21

Howard 43:05   5-6   11-16   2-14   2   4   21

Alston 36:44   8-12   3-4   0-2   4   1   20

Lee 19:51   2-4   0-0   0-0   0   3   4

Pietrus 31:11   7-11   4-4   1-2   2   3   18

Battie 9:28   2-3   0-0   0-0   1   2   4

Nelson 11:16   1-1   0-0   0-0   2   0   2

Gortat 4:42   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   1   0

Totals 240:00   40-64   23-30   5-29   23   21   108

Percentages: FG .625, FT .767. 3-Point Goals: 5-14, .357 (Lewis 3-6, Alston 1-1, Turkoglu 1-3, Lee 0-1, Pietrus 0-3). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 13 (16 Pts). Blocked Shots: 3 (Howard 2, Battie). Turnovers: 13 (Alston 3, Lewis 3, Nelson 3, Howard, Lee, Pietrus, Turkoglu). Steals: 7 (Pietrus 3, Howard, Lee, Nelson, Turkoglu). Technical Fouls: None.

A: 17,461 (17,461). T: 2:51. Officials: Joe Crawford, Derrick Stafford, Mark Wunderlich.

NBA:

NBA Finals

Game 3

Lakers 104 Magic 108

Lakers lead series, 2-1.

Game 4: Tomorrow at Orlando, 9 p.m. (6ABC)