ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Magic (13-21) lost to the Los Angeles Lakers (13-20) on Tuesday night 129-110 on a tepid performance by the boys in blue at the Amway Center.
It was a night of interesting match up as the NBA’s best player (ever – this writers opinion) was matched up against impressive rookie Paolo Banchero, but for most of the game, Banchero was on the bench.
Both players ended the first quarter with four points in an uneventful and sloppy quarter, but as the game moved on, Paolo was in foul trouble, even drawing his fifth foul in the third quarter.
On a night where Paolo looked forward to playing against one of his heroes, James went on in a business as usual manner with 28 points and seven rebounds. Banchero was 11 months old when LeBron James made his NBA debut. He grew up idolizing LeBron. Paolo finished with only four points on the night.
During a time out by the Lakers in the second quarter, James went over by the Magic bench and was yelling back and forth with Cole Anthony and RJ Hampton.
Late in the second quarter, the Lakers started attacking the Magic in the paint and giving them a heavy dose of LeBron as the ended the first half with a ten point lead 65-55.
Markelle Fultz and Thomas Bryant lead their teams with 13 points in the first half. As for the LeBron /Paolo battle, LeBron had 10 points in the half, while Paolo, in a little foul trouble, was limited to four points in the first half. Paolo finished with only four points on the night.
In the third quarter, the Lakers continued to attack the paint against Orlando. Drives by James as well as LA guards feeding Thomas Bryant on the inside did some damage.
The Lakers had their way with the Magic interior as the game continued, attacking Orlando’s interior and beating them in the paint 55-44, out rebounding them 46-37, and outscoring them on fast breaks 15-10.
The Magic worked to come from behind for most of the game, managing to come close and even tie them 4 times, but LA managed to keep a 9 to 10 point lead again and again. They could not get the stops that they needed to get closer.
The Lakers outscored the Magic 37-27 in for fourth quarter, resulting in RJ Hampton and Kendrick Nunn and other reserves into the game as the fight was over.
Russel Westbrook managed to get a triple double on the night with 18 points , 13 rebounds, and 13 assist, tying Seattle Sonic great Detlef Schrempf for most triple doubles of any reserve player.
Westbrook Expressed his gratefulness for the opportunity and for his teammates for being able to play at that level.
Markelle Fultz lead the Magic in scoring with 16 points, followed by 15 pints by Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter jr, who I working his way back on limited minutes.
When asked about the teams defense in the game. Magic head coach Jamahl Mosely basically said that there was none.
When asked what he saw out of his defense that allowed the Lakers to get going, his reply was “None, there was no defense.”
“Our ability to not get back and transition, we I think we allowed shotmaking to impact the way that we defended. So I think you’ve all give Lakers a ton of credit.” Said Mosley “They played like a team that had just lost four straight. They wanted to come out and get it. So give them a ton of credit.
“You know this is a young team lesson to learn understanding that you have to hang your head on the defensive end of the floor no matter what’s happening and we’ve talked about that through shoot around through fail”
“We were letting them good transition buckets, we noticed a huge part of the game.” said point guard Markelle Fultz “Not getting back on makes and misses, although we didn’t have you know, some of our shots falling. Just really not letting our defense do to get our, our game and the way we play so I think we were just getting caught up in all the wrong things tonight, you know, which is frustrating but at the same time, you know, we got to learn from it and keep it moving, you know, uses frustration as motivation for the next one.”
The Magic left the arena immediately after the game and jumped on a flight to Detroit for their game against the Pistons on Wednesday night. Thee Lakers headed down to Miami to face the Heat on Wednesday.