Orlando Magic Takeaways: Orlando Magic’s offense sputters in loss to Los Angeles Lakers

The Orlando Magic's inconsistent offense cost them again as the Los Angeles Lakers took advantage to win easily. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic's inconsistent offense cost them again as the Los Angeles Lakers took advantage to win easily. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

38. 106. 20. Final. 94

During the Orlando Magic’s 106-94 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, something was abundantly clear: The offense is struggling to get quality shots. And that was having an extremely negative effect on their defense.

This is a young team prone to young team mistakes. And that was never more evident in a 36-10 third quarter to forget. One that ultimately buried the Magic in a deficit they could not climb out of.

The lakers went on a 23-0 run to take the lead and eventually lead by as much as 25 points. Orlando was frustratingly unable to gain much traction or etch into the lead.

The Magic can blame their offense for that. They made just 2 of 23 shots and turned the ball over six times. The Lakers made only eight points off turnovers and eight fast-break points. But with all the misses and mistakes, the Lakers were always catching a Magic defense that was never set.

Orlando never found its center and could not stop the bleeding.

The Orlando Magic gave up another huge run that buried them in a deep hole as they could not climb out against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The unfortunate part is that this seemed to be the way things were always going to go.

Through their high-energy defense, the Magic led 52-49 at halftime. They led for much of the first half even after a sloppy start.

Even though they led, Orlando was struggling to get quality looks. But the team was hitting the shots it was taking.

The second half then proved to be more of the same for the Magic’s offense. Only the Lakers increased their defensive intensity and LeBron James — 30 points (14 in the third quarter), 11 rebounds and 10 assists — happened. There was little defense for him when he was hitting threes and getting out in transition.

Orlando still should have been able to compete better if the team could have found its center and executed a lot better.

The Magic’s inability to get quality looks put a lot of pressure on individual players being able to hit tough shots. And when the team inevitably gets cold, things got out of hand rather quickly.

The offense was bogged down from the beginning of the game, the Magic never consistently got easy points. All game long, the Lakers defenders sagged while defending. That crunched the team’s driving and passing lanes and compressed the team’s spacing, which frustrated the offensive scheme.

With the Lakers sagging off, the Magic had two options: Take the shots the Lakers were daring them to take or force passes to try to get a better shot.

Neither of these choices were optimal. A lot of the time, the Magic had to take a poor shot, only to have the Lakers get the rebound and push the floor.

Orlando finished the game shooting 37.5-percent from the floor. The team’s 19 turnovers (for 14 Los Angeles points) were especially killer considering the team’s overall struggles. The Magic finished with more turnovers than assists — never a good sign for a team.

Cole Anthony led the way with 21 points and six rebounds. But he made only 6 of his 18 shots.

Franz Wagner looked like a rookie for the first time in a long time with four turnovers on some bad pick-and-roll reads. But he recovered from a poor shooting first half to score 20 points on 8-for-18 shooting.

Wendell Carter added 16 points and eight rebounds. And Terrence Ross scored 15 points on 4-for-11 shooting off the bench.

The Magic were not terrible on defense, giving up a 108.2 defensive rating or the game. But they had a tough time with transition defense. Not only did their bad shot lead to an unprepared defense, but the Magic committed 19 turnovers.

LeBron James took full advantage of these turnovers. When the defense is a half step behind, someone as good at penetrating and passing like James was able to find the open man. This is where the Lakers are at their most dangerous.

And Orlando, on the last day of a long road trip, was short on answers.

The Lakers led by as much as 25 points. But the Magic fought back and cut the lead to 10 points late in the fourth quarter with many of the Lakers’ starters still in the game. Orlando has hung its hat on fighting in these circumstances and they certainly did that.

But the Magic have to do a better job preventing these major deficits and these long scoring droughts. They are not giving themselves the chance to win. And that still has to matter, even if they find some silver linings once that chance has gone away.

Coach Jamahl Mosley is still having a tough time with the lineups. Every young team in the NBA has trouble with consistency. And the Magic are no exception.

Orlando Magic keep uncovering Franz Wagner's game. dark. Next

With Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac still out, it is tough for the Magic to be judged too hard. But without them, it is obviously difficult for this team to put four quarters of quality basketball together.