The Los Angeles Lakers showed aggression on both sides of the court in their 107-98 win over the Orlando Magic. The Lakers played without Kobe Bryant, who has a sore right shoulder. Anthony Brown and Lou Williams were also out on injury for this contest.
Forward Julius Randle earned a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Guard D’Angelo Russell clinched 27 points, 3 steals and 3 assists. Sophomore guard Jordan Clarkson scored 24 points and 3 assists.
The Lakers started with a 5-0 run against the Magic. The managed to keep Orlando behind them until guard Victor Oladipo earned a lay-up and two consecutive jumpers. Orlando continued to find holes in the Lakers defense, but the young Lakers kept their deficit small. Randle and Clarkson had 8 points each by the end of the first quarter.
NBA Champion Metta World Peace opened the 2nd quarter with a 3-pointer, his suffocating defense was much needed. However, the Lakers lagged behind Orlando throughout the period. At best, they would hold onto a one-point lead for almost two minutes. At worst, the Lakers trailed by 8 points after a pair of free throws by Oladipo with seconds left in the first half.
By Halftime, the Lakers were behind 45-51 against the Magic. Orlando and the Lakers were tied with 24 points in the paint, but the Magic had more fast break points. Four players had scored in the double digits at this point. Magic forward Evan Fournier led the game with 14 points and Oladipo had 13 points. Randle earned 10 points and Clarkson had 11.
Russell managed the offense by scoring 9 points early on in the third quarter. Orlando rallied to keep their lead with the help of center Jason Smith and Oladipo. Forward Aaron Gordon slammed down a windmill dunk to keep Orlando ahead. However, Smith ran into foul trouble, which led him to the bench. Randle scored back-to-back dunks while committing his first steal of the night. The Lakers led by as many as 10 points.
Both teams struggled beyond the arc in the last 12 minutes. The Lakers held tight to their lead while Orland suffered with a offensive drought that lasted over three minutes. The Lakers piled in 6 points during that time. With 3:59 left in regulation, Randle made a lay-up that pushed the Lakers score up to 100, Orlando only had 87 points. The Magic could not regain the lead, they gave the Lakers their 14th win this season.
On Thursday, the Lakers play the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7:30pm.