Lakers Squeak By The Orlando Magic


The Los Angeles Lakers in their Sunday whites head into today’s game against the Orlando Magic aiming to build a two game win streak. The Magic come into this game off a loss to the Portland Trailblazers. The Magic at the trade deadline dumped Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier. The trades have put the Magic in rebuild mode. This feels like a must win game for the Lakers knowing Orlando is in rebuild mode, and their next game after this is against the Milwaukee Bucks.

They must win this game.

Beside the game itself there is breaking news. Andre Drummond has signed with the Lakers as he himself announced on Twitter

It is assumed Andre Drummond will immediately be the starting center. I expect Drummond just to be a great rebounder which the Lakers desperately need along with rim protection. Let’s watch the game now, and see how it unfolds.

First Quarter

The Lakers to start the game were ice cold from the field. About 4 minutes into the game the Lakers have shot 1/6 from the field. The Magic themselves weren’t that much better shooting 2/7 from the field. I expect the Lakers to find their offense quickly to put pressure on a young rebuilding Orlando team. Quite frankly, if the Lakers are on their game this shouldn’t be a close game at all. As we have seen recently these Lakers have been wildly inconsistent. We’ll see which Lakers come out to play today.

The Lakers come out of the timeout, and create a turnover which Kyle Kuzma capitalizes on by hitting a 3 pointer. Marc Gasol‘s impact this quarter won’t been seen on the stat sheet. Marc with his passing vision has created opportunities for this teammates. His teammates now have to convert on those passes to get the offense going. There’s six minutes left in the quarter, and defense is still an issue for the Lakers. The Lakers are giving up second chance rebounds which lead to easy put backs, and more shot opportunities from the 3 point line.

First Quarter Confidence

The Lakers must clean this up if they are to avoid an upset against Orlando. What the Lakers do not want is to give a young team confidence. Young teams like the Magic can get confident, hang around for most of the game, then start to build confidence which can lead to a victory. Two minutes left in the quarter, and it’s been a terrible shooting quarter from both teams. Orlando is shooting 42% from the field, and the Lakers are shooting 40% from the field. Turnovers this quarter are a problem for the Lakers. The Lakers this quarter have 3 turnovers to Orlando’s 1 turnover. The lone bright spot this quarter has been Montrezl Harrell this quarter. Montrezel already has 8 points, and 2 rebounds in the first quarter. Lakers lead after one 22-21.

Second Quarter

This quarter we’ll be keeping an eye out for the Lakers defense. Will see if they make adjustments to make it difficult for the Magic to hit their shots. The Lakers start the quarter hot on a 11-2 run, and their defense has gone up a notch forcing Orlando to take tough contested shots. 4 minutes into the quarter, and Lakers are leading by 10 points. The defense, and ball movement has been better this quarter. Throw those two combinations of stout defense, and ball movement with Orlando bricking shots is the perfect recipe for a blowout win. The Lakers have just got to keep their foot on the gas, and attack the rim which will lead to open perimeter shots.

6 minutes left in the quarter this is going to be the difference if the Lakers can make this a blowout, or if this is going to be a down to the wire game as they are up 36-26. Lakers lack of offense unfortunately cannot create a big gap. The Lakers are right now missing a big opportunity to make this game a blowout. Lakers offensive issues continue to plague them. Which keep the Magic hanging around with 2 minutes left in the quarter. The Magic go on a 13-5 run to end the quarter. This game should be a blowout due to Orlando shooting 39% from the field. Yet because of their poor shooting the Lakers only lead by 5 points at the half 44-39.

Halftime Notes

I wish I can point out what the Lakers did well offensively. However it’s been Montrezl that’s been the bright star this game. Montrezl has scored 12 points on 5/6 shooting from the field. Kuzma has been at great rebounding the ball with 9 rebounds. Kuzma will in all likelihood get a double-double when it’s all said, and done this game. For the Orlando Magic Dwyane Bacon, & Chuma Okeke have been their bright players. Chuma has 9 points with 3/4 shooting from the 3 point line. Dwyane has 11 points with 5/9 shooting from the field.

The only reason why this game is even competitive is the Lakers missing open shots, and their defense to end the half was lackluster. The Lakers just need to hit some open shots that the Magic are giving them. The Lakers must maintain their defensive efforts. There is still time to make the fourth quarter essentially garbage time for the Lakers. Let’s see what the second half has in store for us.

Third Quarter

The quarter has started, and both teams aren’t shooting the ball great, reminiscent of the first quarter. The Lakers early turnovers have given Orlando good looks at the basket from the perimeter. Orlando has now tied the ball game. The Lakers respond by by taking Gasol out, and putting Montrezl in the game. The Lakers immediately go on a 5-0 run. However as I alluded earlier this Magic team is hanging around.

The Magic have now built confidence, and have tied the game. Markieff Morris out of nowhere got the hot hand, and has knocked down two 3’s to give the Lakers a bit of gap, they are now up 61-55. This game is now a dog fight. Orlando has gone on a 6-0 run themselves to tie the game. The quarter has ended and Otto Porter Jr. hit a buzzer beat to tie the game again at 69-69. It’s a brand new ball game heading into the fourth quarter.

A gut feeling from past experience tells me the Lakers might be in trouble. I’ve seen young teams win games they shouldn’t win. They end up winning because they developed the confidence over time in the game to create a belief within themselves that they could win. This could be that moment for this Magic team. Hopefully I’m wrong. Let’s see how the fourth quarter plays out.

Fourth Quarter

The quarter has started, and both teams are struggling to score in this slugfest. 4 minutes into the quarter, and Orlando has tied the game. The Lakers continue to struggle offensively with their shot making, and not making the correct passes. The Lakers all of a sudden find themselves down 5 points to Orlando.

With 6 minutes to go it’s looking murky at best that the Lakers can pull this out. More bad news for the Lakers is Montrezl seemed to hurt himself banging his knee. Which cost the Lakers a a crucial timeout. The Lakers only have one timeout now remaining for the game.

Good news after that brief scare is Montrzel is able to stay in the game. Another good thing for the Lakers is Orlando is now out of fouls. Lakers must take advantage of this situation, and attack the paint. Just like Stu Lantz says, Mr. Momentum has changed jerseys within a minute, and Lakers take a 1 point lead with 5 minutes left.

With 3 minutes left in the quarter the Lakers take a 7 point lead. This game finally should be in the bag for the Lakers. Lakers defense just has to get consecutive stops, and the victory is theirs. It’ll be a sloppy win in the win column but a win nonetheless. Orlando doesn’t go down without a fight however. They cut the lead to 3 points with 30 seconds left in the quarter.

Fourth Quarter Finish

The Lakers can’t nail the dagger as they miss opportunities to end this game. Now Orlando is down 3 points with 10 seconds left in the game. We’ll see what Steve Clifford the head coach of Orlando draws up to get a 3 point shot off. Or does Frank Vogel tell his team to foul to prevent a 3 point shot, and play the free throw game to end the game. Otto Porter Jr get’s a great look however he misses the the 3 point shot to tie the game.

Good news my predication is wrong. Lakers ended up getting their act together and winning this game. This in recent memories has got to be one of the worst offensive games I have seen in awhile. That is not a good thing for us Laker fans. It just goes to show if this Lakers team perform like this against another team at their level they would’ve been blown out.

Post Game

My thoughts for this game. One of the worst offensive outings I’ve seen from both teams in a long time. The Lakers inconsistency shows again but this time offensively. The Lakers shot 34-82 from the field, and Orlando shot 34-88 from the field. Kyle Kuzma took the most 3 point attempts in his career shooting 15 of them, and knocking down 5 of them.

With all the second chance rebounds the Lakers gave up today hopefully new signing Andre Drummond can help the Lakers on that end of the court. One thing I will caution myself, and Lakers Nation, we cannot look at Drummond as a savior. Keep the expectations low for Drummond. Expect great rebounding, and paint protection, that’s what you call a great pick up.

Lastly, three players for the Lakers that contributed heavily today were Dennis Schröder, Kuzma, and Montrezl. Dennis had 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. Montrezl finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Kuzma finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Today felt like another must win game for the Lakers. Despite how ugly the win was, a win is a win. The Lakers next game will be a very tough one as it comes against Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Milwaukee Bucks. Follow me on Twitter @Real_Ajay_Virk, and @thePeachBasket_ for your latest NBA and Lakers news. See y’all next time.

Next Game

Vs Milwaukee Bucks, Wednesday, March 21 at 7:00pm Pacific

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