The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic 116-105 on Wednesday thanks to a strong second-half run spearheaded by Carmelo Anthony.
L.A. faced an eight-point deficit at the start of the third quarter. The Lakers kept turning the ball over while struggling to make shots before halftime, risking a fifth loss in the last six games.
But the Purple and Gold turned things around in the second half, outscoring the Magic 62-43. Anthony led the way with 19 points in the final two periods, shooting 6-for-8 (75%) from the field and sinking all of his four attempted triples.
The 37-year-old forward said the Lakers were determined to begin their six-game road trip with a victory.
“We look at the road trip, but I think it was an important win for us just for the simple fact that we needed a win,” Anthony said. “It’s always good to get a win on the road. Get the first win on a long road trip like we have coming up. It was important for us to get this one tonight.”
After the Lakers fell to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, Anthony said the Lakers still believe they can contend for the title this year. The veteran forward further addressed L.A.’s efforts to overcome adversity after the win over the Magic, highlighting the team’s resilience and togetherness.
“[W]e try not to pay attention to the chaos,” he said. “It is what it is. People are going to talk. Me personally, I really don’t know what people are saying. I try to stay away from it. That’s how I cope with it, but for the most part, I think we do a great job of staying together in that locker room. That’s what’s important.
“We never waver, we never lose our confidence. We talk things out. If there’s something that’s going on, we bring it to the forefront. We address it. If somebody have something to say, we give them the floor to say that.
“But as far as how we deal with how we’re playing or the games that we’re losing that we’re not supposed to be losing, it’s part of the game. We control that. Nobody else.”
Anthony: Lakers need ‘a total game’ against Heat on Sunday
The Lakers will face some of the top Eastern Conference teams next, readying for blockbuster matchups with the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets, and Philadelphia 76ers.
Although Anthony’s mind was still preoccupied with the victory over the Magic late on Friday night, the forward said the Lakers will need to be at their best when they square off with the Heat on Sunday.
“We understand Miami is a tough team,” Anthony said. “They’re playing with the same aspirations that we’re playing with or playing for, which is a championship. So when you have two teams like that on the court at the same time, you got to be ready. The energy got to be there, the effort got to be there. The IQ got to be there, the smartness got to be there, the physicality got to be there.
“It has to be a total game against a team like Miami.”
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