The Los Angeles Lakers snapped their three-game losing streak on Monday night, overcoming an undermanned Orlando Magic team to earn a 114-103 victory.
Dennis Schroder came up clutch in the fourth quarter with 13 of his 21 points while Montrezl Harrell uplifted the Lakers in the third to get them back on track. It was a tightly contested game but Los Angeles did just enough in the closing minutes to earn the much-needed win.
The Lakers looked like they were going to cruise after going up 28-16 in the first quarter, but things fell apart in the second where they inexplicably allowed the Magic to come back and even take the lead. Head coach Frank Vogel offered a simple solution for the meltdown.
“I think we just took our foot off the gas,” explained Vogel. “Got off to a big lead against a team that has been struggling and I felt like our guys got complacent. Both side of the ball, we stopped defending, they made kind of their first 11 shots and we put them to the line. So that can’t happen. We were fortunate enough to dodge a bullet and get the game back under control but aside from that second quarter we played a heck of a basketball game so pleased to get the W.”
However, Vogel did mention that the team’s ability to overcome a poor quarter is beneficial for chemistry building. “For sure,” Vogel said. “There’s gonna be ups and downs in games and certainly we had some coverage letdowns. We got AD and Drum, who haven’t played together much, they’re gonna have some nights where there are situations they’re getting used to and there’s some other guys that had some breakdowns as well.
“So as far as the game, our group has the mindset to build chemistry every time we’re on the floor and to stay connected and work through that stuff with a positive attitude. That’s what I love about our group, that’s what halftime was about, let’s not panic, let’s just get back to what we do, tighten the screws and we were able to have a great second half.”
The Lakers are too talented and deep to allow a rebuilding team like Orlando to control the game the entire night, so it was good to see them positively respond after halftime. While they never should have been put in that position, the end result is what matters in this case.
Vogel emphasized pushing pace against Magic
One noticeable difference in their win against the Magic was that the Lakers looked to really get out in transition off misses. Vogel acknowledged this was by design.
“It’s a big point of emphasis to start this trip, honestly,” Vogel said. “We were just look at, we haven’t had any great running games in our previous homestand and we wanted to get back to generating more offense before the defense is set, getting the ball out of the net, getting it to Dennis and wings flying so we have guys to advance it up the floor to. And we had some great possessions in the two Dallas games, got even better with it tonight.
“It was definitely an area we felt like we could exploit with the Magic, who have a whole new team. They have more unfamiliarity than anybody and it’s toughest to work through that stuff in transition defense. So we definitely wanted to run more tonight than usual.”
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