The Los Angeles Lakers were without Kobe Bryant for the second time in three games as they hosted the young, upstart Orlando Magic. With both Kobe and Wesley Johnson out, Wayne Ellington and Ryan Kelly would be inserted into the starting lineup.
The Magic were led by an impressive young core of Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Vucevic, but came into the game on a four-game losing streak.
This was the first meeting between the two teams this season, but the Lakers were 5-4 against the Eastern Conference. The Lakers were 11-25 coming into the game while the Magic were 13-25.
The Lakers got off to a slow start offensively as the Magic pushed out to a quick 4-0 lead before Jordan Hill made back-to-back buckets to get the Lakers going. Ronnie Price hit his first three to put the Lakers up 7-4, but Victor Oladipo answered with a layup to cut the Laker lead to one. A 7-0 spurt capped by a Ed Davis block and Price layup put the Lakers up 14-6 midway through the quarter. A second Ryan Kelly three put the Lakers up 17-8 before the first timeout of the game. Carlos Boozer came in and immediately got a layup but Oladipo matched him with a vicious slam over Jordan Hill to keep the Lakers lead at nine. The Lakers would push the lead to 11 but Orlando quickly responded with a 5-0 spurt to keep the lead at six. The Lakers offense continued to thrive behind Kelly and Nick Young, but turnovers kept the Magic around. A Lin free throw put the Lakers up 29-20 at the end of the quarter.
Nick Young attacked the basket to get the Lakers first basket of the quarter, but the teams traded baskets as the Lakers remained ahead by eight early in the quarter. One possession saw the Lakers get multiple offensive rebounds before Boozer finally converted a fadeaway to put the Lakers up 35-25. Jordan Clarkson hit his first jumper of the game, but turned the ball over on the next possession as Oladipo hit two free throws to keep the Magic within seven. Both offenses became stagnant midway through the quarter, but an Ed Davis putback kept the Lakers up eight. The Magic would continue to push the Lakers as a Tobias Harris jumper cut the lead to four. The teams traded baskets as the Lakers maintained a five point lead with the quarter winding down. The Lakers would go on a run to end the half behind back-to-back threes from Lin and Kelly and a Lin free throw to give the Lakers their biggest lead of the game at 12. Harris would immediately cut that lead down with a three of his own as the Lakers went into the half up 54-45.
The Lakers got started with a steal from Ryan Kelly followed by Wayne Ellington’s first basket of the game. The teams traded a couple of baskets before Kelly hit Davis with a beautiful assist for the dunk to put the Lakers ahead by 11. Ronnie Price made a beautiful behind-the-back pass to Hill who finished, but the Laker turned it over on the next possession leading to a dunk for Vucevic. Another turnover led to an alley-oop as the Magic would not go away, trailing only by seven midway through the third. Tarik Black made his first appearance of the night but turnovers continued to plague the Lakers in the quarter as the Magic cut the lead down to six. Nick Young, as usual, was fouled on a three-pointer and knocked down all three free throws to get the Lakers out of their mini-funk and get the lead back to nine. Black had a nice running hook and a tip-in to keep the Lakers ahead, but a Channing Frye three cut the lead to six at the end of the third 73-67.
It was not a good start for either team as the Lakers committed a five-second violation while the Magic gave the ball right back with an offensive foul. Another Lakers turnover led to a three-point play form Evan Fournier that cut the Lakers lead to only three. Lin made a tough midrange jumper to get the Lakers on the board in the quarter and a Black offensive rebound and three-point play gave the Lakers a little cushion as the lead went back to eight points. Two Young free throws and a Lin floater capped a 9-0 Lakers run to push the lead back to 12. Young’s struggles from the field continued and Vucevic knocked down two free throws to cut the lead back to single digits. Black built upon his perfect showing with two more free throws and a dunk improving him to 4-4 from the field and 5-5 from the line as the Lakers went up 10 midway through the fourth. A Lin assist to Boozer gave the Lakers their biggest lead of the game as they went up 15. Boozer and Black kept up their play late as the lead swelled to 18. A Jeremy Lin three pointer capped off the impressive night as the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic 101-84.[divide]
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