Early on, the Lakers looked in postseason form and the Magic looked in, well, four-month hiatus form. That would change in the second half.
It was the first home game for the NBA restart’s default home team. There was Magic signage around the court. There was some Paul Porter sound effects. There was LeBron James and old friend turned nemesis Dwight Howard taking the court in Central Florida.
But it was the road Lakers who competed from the jump as if they were playing for something, building a big lead in the early going.
The Magic, compared to their first scrimmage, had better ball movement at times in the first quarter but it didn’t mean much with shots not falling as they went just 5-for-24 from the field in the opening quarter, including 1 of 8 from three (the one make being Evan Fournier’s first bubble basket after going 0-for-5 in the opener).
Transition defense was not great for the Magic, nor was the defensive rebounding on the few shots the Lakers missed in the quarter. Kyle Kuzma came in off the bench and alone had nearly as many field goals in the quarter as the entire Magic team, connecting on all four of his three-point attempts. Anthony Davis nearly posted a double-double in the first quarter with nine points and 10 rebounds in nine minutes before exiting after getting poked in the eye by Khem Birch.
Michael Carter-Williams, coming off a 16-point performance, again was aggressive in attacking the lane but converted just 1 of 5 attempts in the opening quarter. That was five more shot attempts than Terrence Ross took in five minutes of play in the first.
The Magic trailed, 35-19, after the first and it would have been worse had they not managed to get to the free throw line (8-for-10).
Wasn’t any prettier in the second as the Magic struggled with spacing and continued to miss open shots. Orlando made only 6 of 26 attempts in the second, going 1-for-14 from three. The Magic shot just 22 percent in the half (2-for-22 from three, making for a 9.1% clip) compared to the Lakers’ 57 percent, yet trailed only 60-47 at the break thanks to forcing and converting off of turnovers (22 points to the Lakers 0) and by making 23 free throws (out of 27 attempts).
Live look at the Orlando Magic’s bubble offense... pic.twitter.com/teneJ2erTS— Orlando Pinstriped Post (@OPPMagicBlog) July 25, 2020
The Magic offense then started to flow in the second half, combining ball movement with made shots as they connected on 11 of their first 15 attempts. D.J. Augustin orchestrated an 11-3 run to open the third and trim the Lakers lead to 63-58.
Augustin scored nine points in the third to power the comeback for the Magic, who shot 60 percent in the third during their comeback.
Mo Bamba, who for the second straight game did not play in the first half, checked in with just over four minutes remaining in the third and provided a lift, with nine points and six rebounds in eight minutes. Bamba even gave the Magic their first lead of the game early in the fourth on a dunk off a feed from Terrence Ross.
The Lakers ultimately pulled away in the fourth, with Kuzma finishing with 25 points on 10 of 13 shooting, and LeBron adding 20 points and seven assists.
But it was an encouraging second-half performance for the Magic.
Augustin finished with a team-high 21 points. MCW added 15 off the bench but shot just 4-for-15 from the field. Aaron Gordon scored 14 points, Terrence Ross had 12 and Nikola Vucevic added 10 for the Magic, who shot just 34.3 percent overall and 7 of 39 from three (17.9 percent).
They have one more warm up remaining before the games start to count. The Magic take on the Nuggets at 7 p.m. on Monday in their final scrimmage.