Well, I’m pleasantly surprised.
Check my game preview against Orlando:
“Still, it’s not like the Lakers can’t win this game. Remember that Orlando is still a very young team and they are susceptible to some foolish plays on the court.”
Orlando looked baffled out there and the Lakers basically controlled the entire game. L.A. led by as many as 21 points and the final tally was a Laker victory to the tune of 129-110.
The Lakers moved the ball and simply looked more energized than the young Orlando Magic, who had won 8 of 9 games coming into this contest. L.A. had 32 assists and we saw pretty much everybody eat. LeBron James scored 28 points. Sure, his 30-point streak was finished but I’m sure he’d rather take a much-needed W. Russell Westbrook got his third triple-double of the season (all off the bench, tying Detlef Schrempf’s record for most in history!) with 15 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists. And Thomas Bryant played big with 21 points and 10 boards.
L.A. also went 17 for 43 (.395) from three. It was a bit miraculous (well, they were at the city of Disneyworld, after all) that they sustained this shooting (.544 from the field). But it was nice to see that the Lakers played a sense of urgency. They needed to if they wanted to snap that losing skid, which was at four games before going into Orlando.
I raved about Orlando’s length but it didn’t seem to help them as the Lakers outboarded them, 45-37. And the Lakers were able to take Paolo Banchero out of the game as he was in foul trouble for the whole game. It was a season-low four points for him and it was only his second single-digit game of the season. Only Markelle Fultz seemed to look aggressive the whole game; he led the team in scoring with 16 points. Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter, Jr. (their second and third leading scorers) each had 15. Bol Bol, who is good for one remarkable play per game, went for 12 points.
The Magic were able to cut the deficit to five in the third quarter (which obviously terrified Laker fans). But really, the Magic never seemed to threaten. Troy Brown, Jr. made sure to shut it down by scoring 11 of his 15 points in the fourth. Even when the Lakers decided to put in four guards on the court, they were still able to keep the lead. L.A. probably figured that Orlando had looked lost all game.
Oh, and we have to show this highlight:
I also want to give Patrick Beverley a shoutout, who actually got the three-point shooting started by making three of those in the first quarter. He ended with 14 points, which was a season high for him.
The Lakers don’t have much time to savor this win as they’re playing the Miami Heat in less than 24 hours. But at least, the losing streak is done and sometimes, just getting a win lifts a huge burden off their backs.