The streak is over. The Magic got a win in Los Angeles for the first time since December 2nd, 2012 and accomplished only the second sweep of the Lakers in the Magic’s 30-year history.
Tied at 104 following LeBron James’ free throws, Terrence Ross would grab LeBron’s missed three-point attempt and convert on other end at the basket. On the following possessions, Kentavius-Caldwell Pope would miss a three, leading to Aaron Gordon’s dunk and the final points in the Orlando Magic’s 108-104 victory.
The Lakers did not score a point since LeBron’s free throws in the final 2:24, and did not convert a field goal in the final 3:03 of the fourth period after winning the quarter 33-22.
The Magic would allow just 14 points in the paint to the Lakers after giving up 38 in the first half.
The hero (and early All-Star candidate) was Nikola Vucevic, with 31 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks. Gordon had 17, D.J. Augustin has 12 points, nine assists and five rebounds, Jonathon Simmons had 10, four and four, and Ross led the bench with 16 and six.
LeBron had 24 and seven rebounds (along with six turnovers and a game worst -14 plus minus), Kyle Kuzma had 21, Brandon Ingram had 17, JaVale McGee had 12 and seven blocks (season-high), and Lance Stephenson had 13.
The Magic came out flat to begin the first stanza and it looked as if the Magic’s troubling trend of ill-favored shooting was slated to continue against the 22nd defense in the NBA (opponent points per game).
While Magic fans looked on in horror, the Magic would hit just eight of their 22 shots, while the Lakers got everything easy, living in the restricted area. Led by Kuzma (13 first quarter points), the Magic would allow 22 of the Lakers’ first 29 points in the paint, while the Magic finished the period with a big fat donut in fast break points (zero to the Lakers’ ten).
With an early 20-8 lead, the Lakers looked to disperse the memory of the Magic’s dominant victory just one week ago.
After shooting 40.5% against both the Raptors and Nuggets, the Magic start shooting 30% against the 22nd ranked defense in the NBA.— DoYouBelieveinMagic (@DYBinMagic) November 25, 2018
The Magic have just four assists to two turnovers, and just eight points in the paint.
LAL 22-14, 2:50 1st
But following a 29-19 advantage to close the first, the Magic would come alive in the second quarter behind Terrence Ross, Nikola Vucevic and DJ Augustin. Vucevic would finish with 15, five rebounds and four assists in the first half to Ross’ 11 points, and Augustin’s 10 points and six assists.
But while the Magic’s big three closed the half with a momentarily lead following a blistering 19-6 run, the King had other plans about taking a deficit into the second half:
LeBron would play 21 of the first 24 minutes in the game with 13 points in the first half. The Lakers dominated in the paint, 38-18, and in fast break points, 13-2. The Magic kept in the game largely due to the Lakers’ self-inflicted wounds stemming from 14 turnovers and 5-11 shooting from the free-throw stripe.
Led by Kuzma (15 in the half), the Lakers shot an impressive 57% from the field with just five attempted threes in the half (made three), in addition to six blocks from McGee.
The Magic on the other hand finished the half on a troubling trend of just 41% converted field goal attempts, matching the efforts of previous contests against the Raptors and Nuggets.
But the Magic would carry their good fortune into the third quarter with another 22-9 frenetic run led by Gordon, who contributed ten in the quarter, including this highlight reel dunk:
After winning the second 32-23, the Magic would win the third 35-19 holding the Lakers to just one of their first ten shots in the period. Stephenson would keep the Lakers in it with three of his four three-pointers in the period. The lead would extend as high as 16 points following a Vucevic spin toward the baseline and dunk over none other than LeBron James.
The Magic enjoyed a great deal of success in the paint by setting screens on the Lakers big duo of McGee and Tyson Chandler, clearing space and forcing the smaller Laker defenders to help.
With a 86-71 decided advantage, the Magic would head into what would quickly become a wild fourth quarter.
The Lakers raced out early in the fourth behind ten points from Brandon Ingram en route to a 13-4 run that would quickly close the gap to just six, 90-84. With five fouls called in the first three and a half minutes, Gordon and Jonathan Isaac were both quickly assessed with their fifth fouls, mitigating their defensive impacts for much of the fourth quarter.
Though James would start just five of ten from the free-throw stripe, there was no doubt as to the result when he calmly approached the line down 104-102. With 2:24 remaining, the King and his crew would not manage another point, as back to back baskets by Ross and Gordon would seal the victory in the final minute.
The Magic shot 45% on the night and converted 31 of their assists into 42 made baskets on just 14 turnovers. While they allowed 21 fast break points to the Lakers, they also forced 18 turnovers, and held the Lakers to 47% shooting and got lucky at the line (Lakers shot 20/31 from FT).
The Lakers (11-7) have probably about had their fill of the Magic. Winners of seven of their past nine, the four and three game winning streaks have only been broken up by their two matchups with the Orlando Magic.
Next up, the Magic head to Oakland to take on the reigning champion, Golden State Warriors (14-7), Monday night at 10:30 p.m. eastern time.