While it marked the team’s 12th consecutive road win, the Lakers had an early 24-point lead but let it slip late.
Instead of James and Anthony Davis being able to sit out the fourth quarter, the Lakers were in a back-and-forth battle with the Magic before eventually closing it out, 96-87.
Following the win in Orlando, James was ‘happy’ about the start to the five-game road trip, but knows the Lakers need to play better moving forward, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We just wanted to start the road trip off the right way. That’s exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to set the tone. We did that for the first two quarters. We let our foot off the gas in the third quarter and made it a game. And in the fourth quarter, we just started executing and win the ball game. I’m happy about the win even though I don’t look like it, but I’m not satisfied with the way we played. We just got to be a lot better.”
At 22-3 through 25 games of the 2019-20 NBA season, the Lakers are still tied for the best record. While it may be nitpicking at this point, the Lakers had a grand opportunity to get extra rest but failed to do so against the Magic.
Regardless of the opponent, it is ultimately difficult to win on the road and their schedule does not get any easier. Over the next six days, Los Angeles faces the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, and Milwaukee Bucks.
During this stretch, all of the attention will naturally be on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Also at 22-3, they are considered the favorites to win the 2020 NBA Eastern Conference Finals and perhaps the 2020 NBA Finals.
With Antetokounmpo improving upon his 2018-19 NBA Most Valuable Player season, there will be numerous individual and team storylines to conclude the road trip.