Orlando Magic come back down to Earth in tough loss to Los Angeles Lakers

Russell Westbrook and the Los Angeles Lakers took the fight to the Orlando Magic and blew them out. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Russell Westbrook and the Los Angeles Lakers took the fight to the Orlando Magic and blew them out. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

129. 20. 110. 38. Final

The Orlando Magic came back down to earth after winning eight of their last nine games in a frustrating loss to the Lakers where LeBron James and Russell Westbrook’s star power showed through.

The Magic fell behind early and struggled to keep up with a Lakers team that was suddenly inspired to score. The team lacked much of the juice and energy that has characterized this winning run.

The Lakers took it to the Magic from the start and the Magic could not keep up in a 129-110 loss in front of the largest crowd in Amway Center history.

The Orlando Magic crashed back to Earth in a difficult home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers that halted their positive momentum and vibes.

The Magic once again went with the big lineup they have gone to so very often this season. Against a smaller Lakers team, this seemed to give them a distinct advantage that they could press. Especially considering the Lakers’ shooting struggles.

But Los Angeles was able to push the pace and outmuscle Orlando nonetheless. the Magic struggled to get inside the paint. And that only further bolstered the Lakers’ unusual shooting splits — 54.4/39.5/82.4 including 17 3-pointers for the game.

The Magic struggled to shoot early and found themselves in a hole. Further, they missed free throws making only 16 of 25 for the game. Those were critical points left on the board that would have helped the Magic stay in the game and eventually come back.

The Magic’s scoring came in bunches. But never enough to get them over the hump. After trailing by 10 at the half, Orlando could only get as close as five points in the second half. No player on the Magic hit 20 points, but six players reached double figures for the Magic.

The Magic lost the rebound, points in the paint and assist battles while having a disappointing night from the free-throw line. The Lakers outrebounded the Magic 46-37. A big win considering teh Lakers’ lack of size.

Los Angeles outscored Orlando 56-44 in the paint. They made their living there as the Magic struggled to keep the Lakers on the perimeter. Los Angeles’ surprisingly good shooting helped loosen those reigns.

However, there was an improvement and good parts to this game.

The Magic, who are a bottom-five team in turnovers, only turned over the ball 11 times this game. They also forced turnovers as well, forcing 14 turnovers, grabbing eight steals and adding five blocks.

As poor as the Magic’s defense looked at times, it also kept the team in the game for long stretches. If only the offense could create opportunities.

Each time the Magic looked like they were about to climb back into the game, the Lakers slammed the door shut with a big shot or fast-break opportunity.

Aside from creating turnovers, there were no other bright spots for the Magic’s defense. LeBron James’ 28 points, Thomas Bryant’s 21 points, and Russell Westbrook’s 15-point, 13-assist and 13-rebound triple-double looked easy in their 19-point victory.

The Magic need to bounce back from this loss and get better.

Top Performer: Markelle Fultz

Tuesday’s gold medal goes to Markelle Fultz.

Fultz since coming back from injury has played really well and continued that in this game on both sides of the floor. He was the leading scorer in the Magic’s loss with 16 points, along with three rebounds, three assists, two steals and two impressive blocks on 54-percent shooting in 28 minutes.

Fultz showed what he has been working on during his injury as he scored from everywhere. He made multiple mid-range jump shots, he made a three-pointer, he drove to the hoop well and he even had an offensive rebound to a tip-in.

His playmaking was great too as he was the only guard in the starting lineup. He made the right plays, moved the ball, and he was responsible for 25 points.

Defensively Fultz was not at his best, but his hands were very active. He blocked Dennis Schroder and Lebron James along with his two steals.

Fultz was great but it was not enough to pull the Magic to victory.

2nd Place: Wendell Carter

Wendell Carter will be getting the silver medal for his performance against the Los Angeles Lakers. Carter was tied for the second-leading scorer with 15 points, with four assists and three rebounds on 75/100/50 shooting in 19 minutes.

Carter was just as diverse with his scoring as Fultz was. He made both of his three-point attempts, he made multiple mid-range and he was dominant in the paint. He was not settling for jump shots as much as he normally does and was extremely effective when he did take jumpers.

He was not only a scorer on offense this game. He averages 3.2 assists this season which is sixth among centers this season. He was responsible for 24 points and was great at finding the open man.

Defensively he needs to be better. He was late on help defense, struggled at boxing out and was not a paint protector. He needs to be more aware when he needs to help, box out, and be a force in the paint.

Aside from his defense, Carter played a great game off the bench.

3rd Place: Franz Wagner

The bronze medal goes to Franz Wagner.

He was tied for the second-leading scorer with 15 points, along with four assists, two rebounds and a steal on 50/50/100 shooting in 31 minutes. Wagner was very efficient from all three levels of scoring and even hit all 5 of his free throws which the Magic struggled with.

He was a playmaker as well. He was tied for most assists for the Magic with 4, and he was responsible for a team high 26 points.

He struggled on defense as well, but he played decent defense for 31 minutes with only committing one foul which is quite impressive.

Wagner continues to pick up his play after struggling in the beginning of the season.

Honorable Mention: Moe Wagner

Moe Wagner gets the honorable mention after a solid performance against the Los Angeles Lakers. He had 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals on 62.5/33/50 shooting splits.

He was solid all around but not fantastic at anything. He was solid in the paint but inefficient from everywhere else. His playmaking was great too as he was responsible for 21 points.

He was active on defense, hustled for rebounds, and rotated well. However, he was not good in one on one situations in the post and the wing. He is not expected to be a great defender, but he needs to be at least average.

Next. Being paint bullies is working for the Orlando Magic. dark

Wagner has been great in his starting role, so it is expected of him to bounce back from a mediocre night.