After a tough overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers returned home and hosted the Orlando Magic on Monday night in the second game of a back-to-back.
Despite playing heavy minutes in Sacramento, Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis were still able to suit up against the Magic. L.A. was without Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt, however. That didn’t matter though as they still were able to earn a close 104-103 victory over Orlando to improve to 2-2 on the year.
The Magic came out hot out of the gates, drilling 3-pointers on their first two possessions to take a 6-4 lead with Austin Reaves and Anthony Davis converting layups for L.A.
D’Angelo Russell got the crowd on their feet early with a poster dunk on Paolo Banchero, although the Lakers otherwise struggled offensively early, which has been a theme on the young season.
Towards the end of the quarter though the Lakers went on a little run as Davis had a pair of buckets and Christian Wood draining a triple after a steal by Russell. Gabe Vincent then made his first triple of the season and the Lakers led 29-24 after one.
The Lakers’ new-found rhythm continued into the second as they began the quarter on a 6-0 run to take their first double-digit lead. Gary Harris then got hot for Orlando with four triples though, getting his team right back in it.
Despite some more easy buckets inside for Davis, the Lakers went into the halftime locker room trailing 58-54 after Jalen Suggs beat the buzzer with a triple.
Franz Wagner got going for the Magic to begin the third quarter, building an eight-point lead for the Magic. Austin Reaves finally got a triple to got for L.A., which was much-needed given his struggles to begin the year.
After LeBron earned a clear path foul on Wagner, the Lakers put together a 9-0 run to close the quarter and regain the lead at 81-80 through three.
Cole Anthony hit a deep 3 to begin the fourth quarter and end the Lakers’ run, although James immediately responded by attacking the basket for an easy layup. Harris then picked up where he left off in the first half, drilling an open 3 to put Orlando up five.
Russell hit a big triple midway through the fourth to keep his team in it and then made some free throws to cut the deficit to 98-96. James and Russell then connected on massive 3s to put L.A. back ahead in the final 90 seconds.
After a missed layup by James, the Magic got the ball back trailing 104-103 with 20 seconds to play. Suggs took the ball to the basket right at Davis, who affected the shot and forced a miss. Russell then made a pair of free throws to put the Lakers up three, giving the Magic one last chance also they missed two 3-pointers to end it.`
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