The Los Angeles Lakers got off to a hot start, but allowed the Orlando Magic to hang around and keep control for a majority of the game. However, a late game push led by Dennis Schroder ensured a victory for the purple and gold, moving them to 36-25 and giving them breathing room in the conference standings.
Offensively, the Lakers looked unstoppable in the opening minutes. Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond took advantage of a size disparity, combining for 10 points and five rebounds on 5-for-5 shooting in the first five minutes. With 6:48 to go in the first, the Lakers had early control with a 16-9 lead.
As the Lakers cooled off on the scoring end of things, their defense remained active enough to keep them ahead. At the 2:36 mark, the Lakers led 22-16 while holding the Magic to just 33.3% from the field. Following a timeout, the Lakers went on a 6-0 run for the rest of the quarter, putting the Magic at a 12-point disadvantage after one.
The Magic finally found a crack in the Lakers defense, and exploited it. After scoring 16 points the entire first, they had 15 in less than five minutes in the second and cut the Lakers lead to just seven, 38-31.
The onslaught didn’t stop there for Orlando, as the Lakers simply couldn’t score or get stops, with turnovers defining their second quarter. By the 5:19 mark, the Magic held a slim 42-41 lead after a 26-13 start to the period.
The Lakers continued to struggle with turnovers and getting stops for the rest of the half, allowing the Magic to hold to and extend their lead. Heading into the break, the Lakers trailed 56-50 after two polar opposite quarters.
The Lakers defense appeared to be back on track in the second half. They allowed just five Magic points in the first five minutes. They did a great job at forcing turnovers and capitalizing on them, and cut their deficit to 61-60 at the 6:44 mark.
The Magic would not give up their slim lead for the entirety of the third quarter, despite the Lakers best efforts. Going into the fourth and final quarter, both teams were gearing up for a close finish as L.A. trailed 80-79.
The Lakers offense found a rhythm once again at the start of the fourth quarter. Hitting six of their first seven shots — including two Ben McLemore threes — helped put L.A. back in front with a 95-91 advantage. Talen Horton-Tucker also gave L.A. some spark using his ability to drive and finish in the paint.
Dennis Schroder then had himself a 5-0 run to help the Lakers keep their distance. With 3:44 to go in the game, the Lakers had a 102-96 advantage as the two teams entered the final stretch.
Schroder didn’t stop there. He brought his fourth quarter point total to 11 with a floater then got a transition assist to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to bring the Lakers lead to 11. Anthony Davis later iced the game with a corner three to make it 112-100.
The Lakers wound up defeating the Magic 114-103 in a game they needed to win against an inferior opponent, with Schroder leading the way.
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