Lakers News: LeBron James Gives Reason For First-Half Struggles Against Magic
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Another disappointing loss loomed over the Los Angeles Lakers after a poor performance in the first half of Friday’s clash with the Orlando Magic.

At halftime, the Lakers headed to the locker room trailing 62-54. They had shot 42.2% from the field and just 21.4% from beyond the arc over the first two periods. Also, L.A. had committed 11 turnovers.

“We felt like the first game on an East Coast trip is always the toughest game and that first half is usually when you’re trying to get the legs back coming off a long flight from L.A. yesterday,” LeBron James said after the game.

“We knew we could play a lot better.”

The Lakers did play a lot better in the second half, allowing them to chalk up a 116-105 win in the end. L.A. came out of the intermission locked in, opening the third quarter with a 20-2 run. The Purple and Gold’s defense allowed the Magic to shoot just 39.5% from the field in the second half.

Meanwhile, the Lakers hit 10 triples on 16 attempts (62.5%) after going 3-for-14 in the first. Carmelo Anthony led the charge, scoring 19 second-half points.

The Lakers’ domination was reflected in stats, as none of the Magic starters recorded a better plus-minus after halftime than Franz Wagner with -12.

“We ended the second quarter, we fouled them a lot. The last seven or eight points came from the free-throw line and we just had to play without fouling in the third quarter. We were able to turn it around and it started with AB’s pressure at the point of attack and we all followed suit,” James said.

The Lakers’ All-Star also highlighted Stanley Johnson’s role in the Friday turnaround, praising the forward’s effort on the defensive end that helped L.A. smother Orlando’s offense.

“With Stanley on the floor, we were able to play a lot of switching defense where we can keep guys in front of us,” James said.

“Having that speed out there, having that defender out there and the ability to have positionless defense allowed us to keep those guys in front of us. They did a good job in the first half of kind of breaking down one of our sets that we wanted to do defensively and we were able to change that at halftime.”

Johnson did not start the game but Frank Vogel decided to go with him over Dwight Howard to begin the second half, which helped spark that big run.

Frank Vogel ‘didn’t snap’ at halftime despite trailing Magic

Even though his team faced an eight-point deficit in a game against the team with the NBA’s worst record (8-38), head coach Frank Vogel said he remained calm at halftime.

“Yeah, I would say it was a calm in the room,” Vogel said.

“Talk about what adjustments we needed to make, where we need to be better. But it wasn’t a halftime where I snapped or anything like that.”

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