Lakers Dominate Second Half, Defeat Magic 97-84


The Orlando Magic got off to a good start but couldn’t keep it up, collapsing in the second half due to poor decisions , turnovers and breakdowns on the defense. The Lakers walked away with a 97-84 victory.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 22 points and 15 rebounds while Pau Gasol had 23 points for the Lakers.

The Magic got off to a nice start in the first quarter behind great shooting (9-of-17 from the field, 4-of-5 from beyond the arc).  They let the Lakers get up 26 shots, mostly because of Andrew Bynum’s rebounding (11 boards in the first quarter) but the Lakers only hit seven, leading to a 25-19 lead.

The Magic looked like they were going to extend their lead to double digits and take control of the game during the second period, but stupid mistakes and timely turnovers (six in the second quarter) kept the Lakers into the game and the Magic took a 46-41 lead into the half.

After shooting 8-of-19 from the field in the second quarter, the Magic shot well in the third quarter (8-of-14) but couldn’t get up enough shots (they turned the ball over six times  in the quarter) and allowed the Lakers to score 30 points on 13-of-21 shooting. Kobe Bryant shook off his 2-of-10 first by going 5-of-7 in the quarter. The Lakers took a five-point lead into the final quarter.

Orlando’s offense continued to be cold in the fourth quarter and the Lakers took advantage of their poor shooting and turnovers to run away with the game in the fourth quarter. Pau Gasol scored eight points in the final quarter to lead the charge.

After the jump, you can read more thoughts and observations after the game.

Andrew Bynum is going to get a lot of credit and rightfully so – he had 10 points and 18 rebounds – but that doesn’t mean Dwight Howard should take a lot of the blame. Yes, Howard got beat on the boards in the first quarter but after that opening quarter, Howard still looked fresh while Bynum was gasping for air. Howard also got Bynum into foul trouble and Bynum couldn’t really score against the big man, going just 3-of-10 from the field. Howard really had it going on the offensive end early, hitting four different jump shots.

However, Los Angeles took it to him every time he put the ball on the floor and forced him into nine turnovers.

It was turnovers that did Howard and the Magic in. They committed 18 turnovers compared to the Lakers’ four.

Other than Howard, the Magic got virtually nothing out of their offense in the second half. No one could really get to the basket or create their own shot and no one was creating for their teammates. Early on, Jameer Nelson was doing a fantastic job of getting other payers involved early on, but it didn’t happen in the second half. Nelson was called for three different offensive fouls, which is extremely rare, so he probably couldn’t be as aggressive as he would have liked. Still, when Nelson has a big advantage like he should have had Monday night, he needs to take advantage.

On the other side Fisher scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. The Magic just can’t let that happen.

Next Up: The Magic will be in Miwaukee to take on the Bucks Wednesday night.

Final Thought: Turnovers are Orlando’s biggest problem lately and it doesn’t look like they have an idea to fix that problem.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).