LeBron James Notches 30-Point Triple-Double to Lead Lakers Past Cole Anthony, MagicDecember 13, 2021
The Los Angeles Lakers may finally be moving toward consistency.
Los Angeles defeated the Orlando Magic 106-94 in Sunday's matchup at Staples Center. LeBron James notched a triple-double and led the way for the victors, who improved to 15-13 on the season with their second straight win.
Solid showings from Cole Anthony and Franz Wagner weren't enough for the struggling Magic, who fell to 5-23 on the season with a fifth consecutive loss.
Notable Player Stats
- LeBron James, F, LAL: 30 PTS, 11 REB, 10 AST, 3 BLK
- Russell Westbrook, G, LAL: 19 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL
- Talen Horton-Tucker, G, LAL: 19 PTS, 6 STL, 3 AST
- Cole Anthony, G, ORL: 21 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST
- Franz Wagner, F, ORL: 20 PTS, 7 REB
- Wendell Carter Jr., C, ORL: 16 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST
Lakers Ride Dominant Third Quarter to Victory
The Lakers received unfortunate news before the game even started, as Anthony Davis was ruled out for the second straight contest with left knee soreness.
That didn't stop the Purple and Gold from winning Friday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, thanks to an impressive offensive showing from James. While Los Angeles appeared to go through the motions for stretches in the first half as it fell behind, the King was dialed in from a statistical standpoint.
He led all players in rebounds at intermission while pacing the home team in scoring as well.
Carmelo Anthony added some offense off the bench, but it was clear the Purple and Gold were missing Davis as they were outplayed and outrebounded in the first half and thrown into comeback mode.
Turns out, comeback mode was an ideal mode for the home team.
Los Angeles exploded for a 23-0 run during a third quarter that saw it outscore the Magic 36-10. James turned back the clock with blocks on the defensive side and more scoring, Talen Horton-Tucker caught fire with his shot and Russell Westbrook did a little bit of everything with his scoring, passing and rebounding.
While there will be more challenging games than the Magic, it was the type of dominant quarter that should provide confidence for a team looking for more consistency. It also took the pressure off LeBron and Co. in the fourth quarter, which was fortunate because they coasted for stretches and allowed Orlando to climb back within striking distance.
Promising Start Not Enough for Magic
While No. 5 overall pick Jalen Suggs is sidelined with an injury, the rest of Orlando's season is all about gaining experience for the young core of Anthony, Wagner and Co.
Sunday was an opportunity to pick up some of that experience against one of the league's presumed title contenders, and they went toe-to-toe with the Lakers while seizing early momentum. Orlando built a 25-18 lead through the first quarter and took a three-point advantage into the halftime locker room behind a balanced attack.
Anthony found his stroke from deep, while Terrence Ross provided a spark off the bench with his own outside shooting.
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Throw in Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr. and Robin Lopez providing secondary support, and it was clear the Magic weren't intimidated by the road environment against a team with more talent on paper.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the talent won out in the decisive third quarter.
Wagner and Carter at least continued to play well in the second half, and the Magic showed some fight by outscoring the Lakers in the fourth quarter after losing control of the game. There are some building blocks in place, and the future will look better when Suggs is back and healthy.
Still, those pieces weren't ready to beat a team with LeBron on the other side on Sunday.
Both teams are in action Wednesday when the Lakers are at the Dallas Mavericks and the Magic host the Atlanta Hawks.