Magic 112-119 Lakers
Saturday night against the Lakers was a tale of two halves as the teams resumed a full 48 minute scrimmage.
Orlando played its second straight game without Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu something that hopefully changes on Monday against the Denver Nuggets.
The Magic gotten off to a slow, frustrating start in the opening 12 minutes on both ends of the floor, the Lakers defence was suffocating at every opportunity making Orlando’s offence inside the paint difficult.
On the other end, it felt like the Lakers could attack the Magic in the paint whenever they wanted, outmuscling and outworking Orlando to get themselves easy buckets.
Orlando somehow only trailed by 13 points at half time, a deficit that felt like it could’ve been a lot worse. Terrence Ross had a 3 point heave from his own half waved off at the buzzer, that he banked in off the glass.
The second half was a very different game, Anthony Davis who was poked in the eye during the first half didn’t appear in the second and the Magic played without Wes Iwundu, who took a nasty fall on a dunk attempt.
Orlando came out of the locker room with more fire and energy as they slowly chipped away at the Laker lead. Michael Carter-Williams once again and Mo Bamba gave the Magic a boost off of the bench that gave Orlando a much needed lift.
The Magic cut the deficit to 1 on several occasions with a number of opportunities to take the lead in the 4th quarter that included a blown Terrence Ross lay up.
It felt like Orlando could’ve gone on to win the game with momentum on their side, but could never wrestle it away from LA who held on to close out the final minutes.
Areas For Concern
We’ve seen this kind of Magic performance time and time again, especially earlier in the season, as they came out of the locker room with little urgency, no rhythm to the offence and a step slower than the opposition.
Unfortunately, we know all to well that’s not a good recipe for success for this team who do not have the ability to turn around a game when they feel like it.
At the very least, the defensive intensity should be better, rebounding has been something Steve Clifford hasn’t been happy with for most of the season.
3 point shooting continues to plague the Magic who were 7-39 against the Lakers, Terrence Ross who we rely on adding that threat off the bench was 0-6.
Hopefully we will see the return of Markelle Fultz this week, his ability to collapse a defence and find players good shot attempts will open things up for Orlando from beyond the arc.
Orlando will face the Denver Nuggets on Monday at midnight in their final scrimmage game before the seeding games get under way, starting Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets.