The Los Angeles Lakers snapped a three-game losing streak Monday with a 114-103 victory over the fledgling Orlando Magic, who have now dropped six in a row.
Dennis Schroder dropped 21 points for the Lakers, who improved to 36-25 and increased the distance between themselves and the sixth-seeded Dallas Mavericks.
For the 18-43 Magic, Chuma Okeke dropped 18 to lead the scoring.
- Dennis Schroder, Lakers: 21 PTS, 10 AST
- Montrezl Harrell, Lakers: 18 PTS, 5 REB, 3 STL
- Chuma Okeke, Magic: 18 PTS, 5 REB
- Cole Anthony, Magic: 15 PTS, 7 AST
Magic Put Up Fight After Slow Start
While the Lakers got out to a hot start, taking a 28-16 lead into the second frame, the Magic weren't so lucky.
Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times put it simply:
Wendell Carter Jr. led the Magic with six points through the first quarter.
But it was a completely different ballgame in the second period. Chuma Okeke found his stride and headed into the half with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, highlighted by a poster dunk over Andre Drummond before the Magic came back from 16 points down to take the lead thanks to a major run—starting the quarter 5-of-5 in the paint—and a Robert Franks go-ahead three.
They managed to keep the power going through the second quarter and entered the break up 56-50, bringing their field-goal percentage up to 48.8, equaling that of their opponents.
Cole Anthony was the team's second-leading scorer at the half with nine points.
The Magic let the Lakers stay within reach throughout the third, but they managed to keep it going. Okeke ended the quarter with 15 points, and Carter and Dwayne Bacon each recorded double digits in the frame in front of a balanced effort from the Orlando bench.
The Magic let the Lakers get the lead back early in the fourth as Okeke and Harris—the most productive members of the squad—sat to rest. The starters returned as the Lakers led by six with under four minutes to go, but Orlando couldn't complete its impressive performance in the end.
Lakers Recover From Mid-Game Slip
Anthony Davis' return to the lineup from his calf injury had been somewhat unceremonious entering Monday, as the Lakers dropped two straight games to the Dallas Mavericks.
Davis shot just 7-of-29 from the field through those two games, though he showed signs of life Saturday when he starred at the line and ended the game with 17 points.
Things took a positive spin pregame against the Magic, when head coach Frank Vogel said Davis wouldn't be operating under any minutes restriction for the first time since his return.
He helped the Lakers get off to a solid start, as he and Kyle Kuzma both posted six points each to help lead a balanced first-quarter effort by the defending champs. As a team, they shot 55 percent from the field in the opening 12 minutes and had just one turnover, credited to Davis.
Things took a turn heading into the break.
The Lakers made seven turnovers in the second quarter, and the Magic took advantage, dropping 14 points on those recovered balls. Orlando also capitalized on calls in their favor, going 11-of-14 from the line.
L.A. got outscored 40-22 in the second quarter. No Los Angeles player scored in double digits by the 24th minute.
In the third, the Lakers got back in it as Andre Drummond logged a double-double halfway through. Davis, Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell also got into double-digit scoring in the third as the Lakers, who had slowed down their turnover rate after a tumultuous second quarter, continued to chase a calmer Magic squad.
Alex Caruso had a quieter night with seven points and two rebounds off of the bench, but he only logged 14 minutes before exiting early with back spasms. Without him, the Lakers still managed to pull back in front early in the first quarter and hold that lead until the end.
While their early struggles were marked by a deficit from the line, another issue became apparent as the game wore on. After opening the game going 3-of-3 from deep, the Lakers finished with just 35.5 percent shooting from deep compared to 44 percent by Orlando.
The Lakers let the little things go through the middle of Monday's game, playing sloppy and missing shots from deep, therefore allowing the Magic to move ahead. They got lucky in the end, shooting 74 percent in the fourth, but more consistency will be key through the remaining games if they want to stay out of the play-in tournament and make a deep run in the postseason.
The Magic will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.
The Lakers will head north to face the Washington Wizards on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.