Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton typically does not show his team film from a blowout loss, but he broke from tradition ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Orlando Magic. He wanted the Lakers to feel the frustration and anger that came with the deflating defeat in Orlando back in January.
They looked to be on their way for another such game, but Isaiah Thomas and Ivica Zubac turn the tide, and Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brook Lopez carried the Lakers to a 108-107 win.
The Lakers scored the first five points but otherwise were off to a third ragged start in as many games. The Magic subsequently went on a 12-2 run, led by early offense from Aaron Gordon.
Although they had six turnovers and only eight made baskets, the Lakers closed the first quarter by scoring six points. Thomas and Zubac carried some of that momentum in the second quarter, as Thomas made his first three attempts from deep. Then, Kuzma then found his rhythm on offense.
Kuzma’s three-point play gave the Lakers a 38-37 lead with just over six minutes before halftime. Lonzo Ball came out shooting at the start of the third, making his first four shots, including a trio of 3-pointers.
But even with that, the Lakers were unable to create any separation from the Magic. Gordon and Nikola Vucevic combined for 16 points in the quarter, and L.A. only led by two points heading into the final 12 minutes.
The Magic were forced to close out the game without Evan Fournier, who suffered a left knee sprain in the third. Fournier had 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting, to go along with two rebouns and two assists.
After the Magic tied the game at 85, the Lakers scored the next 11 points as part of a 14-2 run to take control. That was somewhat fleeting, however, as their lead was cut to single-digits on multiple occasions over the remaining four minutes, and a single possession in the final minute.
Jonathon Simmons had an opportunity to tie the game but split his pair of free throws. Upon Ball missing a 3-pointer, Gordon corralled the rebound and pushed the ball up the court for a go-ahead layup with five seconds remaining.
Coming out of their final timeout, the Lakers ran the possession through Lopez, who drew a foul and made the tying and game-winning free throws with 0.6 seconds left.
Lopez led the Lakers with 27 points, while Kuzma had 20 and Ball contributed 16. Thomas scored 13 points off the bench, adding nine assists.