The Los Angeles Lakers faced a rebuilding Orlando Magic team that cleaned house at the trade deadline on Sunday night, giving them a prime opportunity to come away with their second straight win. While it wasn’t pretty, the Lakers ultimately hung on for a 96-93 victory at Staples Center.
The Lakers started out cold from the field, missing their first four attempts that allowed the Magic to take the first lead of the night. Los Angeles eventually warmed up from the field, with Kyle Kuzma knocking down a pair of threes to get the team going offensively.
Orlando was able to keep momentum on their side early as they knocked down jumpers, while defensively prevented the Lakers from scoring inside. However, Montrezl Harrell provided an offensive lift for the Lakers off the bench in the final minutes and gave them a slight 22-21 advantage after one.
Los Angeles gave themselves some breathing room by opening up the second with a 12-1 run, looking to push the pace before Orlando’s defense could get set. The Laker defense also picked up considerably, stifling any actions the Magic tried and forcing them into low-percentage looks.
Even when Orlando did have space to operate, they were unable to capitalize which let Los Angeles control the flow of the game and hold onto all the momentum. Despite the Magic’s struggles scoring the basketball, they managed to cobble a run at the end of the second and the Lakers walked into the half only up 44-39 in what was one of the lowest scoring halves of the season.
Much like the first quarter, the Lakers started out cold from the floor as they failed to get anything to go down before a Dennis Schroder layup. Orlando managed to tie up the game, but Los Angeles battled back and retook control of the game.
Although the Purple and Gold held onto their advantage, the Magic continued to fight and keep themselves within striking distance. Otto Porter Jr. drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the two teams found themselves tied at 69.
The Lakers and Magic toggled with the lead atop the fourth, but the latter began to knock down shots and took a five-point lead in the process. Things could have gotten worse as Harrell turned his ankle, but he managed to stay in the game.
Los Angeles re-took the lead after a 12-3 run, keyed by some well-timed shotmaking. The Magic managed to make it a one-possession game in the final minute, but Porter missed the game-tying three at the buzzer and the Lakers walked away with the win.
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