ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Magic faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando, and though the young club held the lead at the half, LA pulled away in the second half for a 116-105 win.
The Magic battled the more seasoned/ veteran Lakers squad to take a 8 point lead into the half, with a lot of grit and fight, but with the talents of LeBron James (29 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) and Carmelo Anthony (23 points of 4 of 5 shooting from deep), and company, the Magic didn’t stand a chance.
The Lakers, who have been struggling of late to find their team’s rhythm, came out in the fourth quarter and outscored Orlando 31-16 in the third quarter, as Orlando starters Cole Anthony and Mo Bamba were held on the bench due to accumulating fouls.
For Orlando, key performances by Wendell Carter jr who scored 19 points and had 5 rebounds on his return from the injured list. Rookie Jalen Suggs started to live up to hs potential with a sold performance of 22 points and 9 assists, helping to steer his club in the right directions as Anthony was on the bench.
Franz Wagner, who is no longer a surprise this season, continued to fight for his points, and scored 15 points for the Magic, keeping them in the game.
The difference in the first half and second half was the Lakers bench. their first half scoring troubles came as Orlando got more out of bench play in the second half, with the Magic outscoring the Lakers 24 to 16 by halftime.
But with Carmelo getting hot, LeBron and the Lakers changing strategies with more switches and taking advantage of their talent advantage, they had the pathway to a win. LA outscored Orlando and ended the third quarter with a 85-78 score.
The Lakers switching led to a 19-2 run over Orlando, pulling them away.
Orlando was also weekend by the loss of sharp shooter Terrance Ross, who left the floor earlier in the game due to knee soreness. Ross is one of Orlando’s key veterans and scorers, but the Magic managed to keep competing.
Cole Anthony continued to lead the Magic team on the floor, but was happened by could trouble coming out of the first half. Anthony was held to 4 points with 4 assists, but did manage the floor well.
Lakers head coach saw this Magic team as better than their recording knew that no team came into Orlando expecting an easy win. The Magic challenged the Lakers to sort some things out, but LA’s strengths sank in once the figured out the right strategy.
For Orlando, chalk it up to another lesson learned on their journey through a rebuild.