After a couple of rough losses, the Los Angeles Lakers finally got back into the win column after a victory over a feisty Orlando Magic team.
Despite their age and inexperience, the Magic have proven to be a tough matchup for most teams including the Lakers. For most of the night, Orlando was able to hang with Los Angeles before Austin Reaves took over in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Alongside Reaves, D’Angelo Russell had a bounce back as he looked more like the player that Los Angeles hopes to re-sign in free agency. After a soul-crushing loss to the Dallas Mavericks a couple days prior, Russell was proud of how the team responded against the Magic.
“It was tough. Way to respond. Way to respond as a group. Things like that happen in the NBA where shots like that go in and situations like that that you don’t expect happen, so it is what it is. Good way to respond for our group.”
The win against Orlando bumped Los Angeles up to the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference standings, but Russell said he’s doing best not to get too caught up with where the other teams are. “Everybody is solid. I think everybody is solid in a sense so every game there’s gonna be a new change. Trying not to get too caught up in it, just trying to take things one game at a time and play the games that we play in and just go from there.”
There are only 10 games left in the 2022-23 season, meaning the purple and gold don’t have much time to climb up and put them in as advantageous of a position as possible. While Russell has the right attitude, it’s going to be hard to ignore the competition and where things stand every night.
At this point, the weight of every win and loss is massive so hopefully Russell and the Lakers are able to win out and get themselves back in the postseason.
D’Angelo Russell on Austin Reaves’s career performance against Magic
While Russell was a major contributor in the win over the Magic, it was Austin Reaves who served as the hero of the night. Reaves scored a career-high 35 points, including the last 10 points of regulation. When talking about Reaves’s performance, Russell said he wasn’t surprised to see his teammate dominate the way he did.
“Well, well, well-deserved. More than capable, honestly. I’m just not surprised. He’s capable. He gets to the free throw line and can dominate the game a lot of different ways.”
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