After surviving a sloppy affair for a win over the Utah Jazz, the Los Angeles Lakers got off to an encouraging start against the Orlando Magic. But much like in their first meeting, the Lakers struggled in the second and third quarters of an eventual loss.
The Lakers led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter but were only ahead 52-51 come halftime because the Magic outscored them 32-23 in the period. That carried into the third quarter when Orlando scored 35 points to the Lakers’ 19.
The Magic’s lead swelled to 16 points late in the third but they found themselves tied with the Lakers down the stretch of the fourth quarter. As L.A. missed shots in their final possessions, Orlando did just enough for a 108-104 win.
“I think we came out pretty strong, got up early and fell off in the second. Third quarter, they blew us out,” Lonzo ball said. “We spent so much energy getting back in the game, we came up a little short.”
Though Lakers head coach Luke Walton intended to insert him back into the game, Ball found himself on the bench during their fourth-quarter comeback bid. Walton instead stuck with a lineup of bench players that included Lance Stephenson.
He made multiple 3-pointers to cut into the Magic’s lead but also took ill-advised shots. While the Lakers inexplicably were swept by the Magic in the season series, Stephenson maintained frustration was not boiling over.
“It’s a learning experience. A lot of these games are close. I feel like we learn from this and by the end of the season we’ll be used to stuff like this,” Stephenson said. “Making smart plays, getting stops and stuff like that. For the most part I think we played excellent. We just didn’t finish.”
Next for the Lakers is a road matchup with the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. The Lakers handed them their first loss of the season back on Oct. 25.
“Just bounce back, learn from this one and move on,” Ball said of looking ahead. “Take one step back, two steps forward.”