For a team in the Los Angeles Lakers’ situation, style points don’t matter only the outcome. Regardless of how it looked, the Lakers were able to get the victory they needed in the end on Sunday night.
Three players posted double-doubles as the Lakers survived a sluggish performance to come away with a 96-93 win over the Orlando Magic. The win was the second consecutive for the Lakers and kept them in the fourth spot in the Western Conference, just ahead of the surging Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers.
Dennis Schroder was absolutely massive down the stretch for L.A, finishing with 24 points, six assists and five rebounds while absolutely living at the free-throw line down the stretch of the game. He hit 9-of-10 from the stripe on the night and continually baited the young Magic guards into fouls in the fourth quarter.
Montrezl Harrell finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks on the night, being the team’s best offensive option at many points. Kyle Kuzma added 21 points, 11 rebounds and four assists while Markieff Morris also had 12 points and 11 rebounds with each providing some clutch moments as well.
L.A. lead by as many as 13 points in the first half and seemed poised to run away from a Magic team in the midst of a massive rebuild. The team dealt away three of their four leading scorers and was also without that fourth player in Terrence Ross as well as Gary Harris, one of the biggest pieces they received back during the deadline.
The Lakers’ defense carried them on a night when their offense struggled to consistently put up points. The team shot just 41.5% from the field and 27.5% from 3-point range, but were able to hold Orlando to an abysmal 38.6% shooting overall. Also of much importance was the Lakers being able to take care of the ball, committing just 12 turnovers after giving up the ball 23 times in the previous contest.
L.A. struggled in places that they have normally been good in on this night. The team managed just 40 points in the paint, being outscored by two by Orlando and also finished with just nine fastbreak points, five fewer than the Magic. The Lakers’ bench was also outscored, 42-28, though the undermanned Magic were far more reliant on their bench on this night.
Fourth-year guard Dwayne Bacon led the Magic with a game-high 26 points to go along with eight rebounds.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers get a couple of days off before hosting the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, and then they will embark on an eight-game road trip that kicks off Friday night in Sacramento against De’Aaron Fox and the Kings.
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