The Orlando Magic fall to the Los Angeles Lakers 129-110

Tuesday night, the (13-21) Orlando Magic were seeking to get on another win streak after blowing out the San Antonio Spurs in their last match. The Magic were preparing to tip-off against the (13-19) Los Angeles Lakers their club has lost 4 in a row including an abysmal Christmas Day performance in the third quarter against Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks. 

The Magic had an ample amount of key inactives heading into tonight’s matchup with Kevon Harris, Admiral Schofield, Jalen Suggs (ankle), Chuma Okeke (knee surgery), and Johnthan Isaac (knee). As for the Lakers they were without their star forward Anthony Davis (stress fracture in foot) and Juan-Toscano Anderson (ankle).

Similar to the last game for the Lakers, they were off to a fast start scoring 33 points in the first quarter as a result of their shooting efficiency: 53.8% from the field and 33.3% from three. Meanwhile, the Magic had opened the game struggling to find a groove in their offense as they were shooting 37.5% from the field and 28.6% from three, however the lead was only a 6 point deficit going into the second. The second quarter was essentially more of the same as the Lakers had jumped out to a huge scoring run 24-11 giving the team a 16 point advantage. During this quarter the Magic had picked up their shooting efficiency (44.7% from the field) which allowed them to close the gap as the lead was now within 10 points (65-55) heading into the second half. With the half concluded, the Lakers had standout performances from Thomas Bryant with 13 points, LeBron James with 12 points, Patrick Beverley with 11 points, and Lonnie Walker IV with 10 points.

The third quarter had seemed destined for the Magic to overcome the 10 point deficit and build to a lead of their own as they jumped out to a 13-8 run squandering the lead within 5 points. The theme of the third was truly a testament to LeBron’s greatness as he had notched 12 points and 6 rebounds with his second leading scorer in Austin Reaves putting up 5 points. LeBron’s efforts combined with Reaves was enough to combat the Magic’s response as they were only outscored by 1 point with the lead still in favor for the Lakers (92-83) and just one quarter left to play. The fourth quarter had shown yet again more of the same as the Magic were just unable to stop the Lakers offense from scoring as their efficiency in that quarter alone skyrocketed to 70% from the field and 60% from three (marking on the night 54.4% field goal & 39.5% from three), all while scoring 37 points allowing them to amount to a lead as large as 21 points (largest of the night). Despite the slow start in the first quarter, the Magic’s offense looked alive and well for the rest of the game as they finished shooting 50% from the field and 35% from the field. As aforementioned, the defensive struggles for the Magic proved to be the deciding factor for the outcome of this match with the Lakers winning 129-110.

LeBron had led his calvary once again putting up 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists while receiving help from Russell Westbrook who notched himself a triple-double off the bench with the following stats: 15 points, 13 rebounds, and 13 assists. The Lakers also had four other players with double digits in the scoring column: Bryant with 21 points, Troy Brown Jr. with 15 points, Beverley with 14 points, and Walker IV with 10 points.

The Magic had a collaborative effort with their offense as they had a total of 6 players in the double digits in the scoring column. Markelle Fultz led the way with 16 points,  Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. with 15 points, Terrence Ross with 13 points, Mo Wagner with 12 points, and Bol Bol with 10 points. Paolo Banchero had finished with a season low 4 points as he was limited in this matchup due to foul trouble finishing with 5 at the end of the game.


What’s Next?

The Orlando Magic (13-22) are forced to quickly turn around for tonight’s matchup as they will face the (8-28) Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. The Pistons are heading into tonight’s match having lost 7 of their last 8 contests including a disappointing loss against the Los Angeles Clippers failing to hold onto a large lead in the final minutes of the game. On the season, the Pistons are averaging 111.2 points per game (6th worst offense) while allowing for 119.0 (2nd worst defense). The Magic will be looking to capitalize on the Piston’s struggles to inch closer to 10th seed in hopes for a potential spot in the play-in tournament. The Magic are currently 2.5 games behind the (15-19) Toronto Raptors.

As for the Los Angeles Lakers (14-20) they will seek to win another game against a Florida team with a match with the (17-17) Miami Heat. Similar to the aspirations for the Magic, the Lakers find themselves 2.5 games shy from the 10th seed and 4 games back from the 7th for a potential play-in spot. The Heat are having many struggles this season but none as more concerning than their players’ health. The Heat have many players in question for their injury report including Bam Adebayo (shoulder), Jimmy Butler (ankle), Gabe Vincent (knee), and the list goes on. On the season, the Heat have the worst offense as they are averaging 108.1 points per game while having a top 5 defense, allowing for 109.2 points.

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