Los Angeles

Lakers’ Defense Disappears in 130-117 loss to Orlando Magic

The Lakers' defense disappeared in Florida as Los Angeles lost to the Orlando Magic, 130-117, on Saturday night at the Amway Center.

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.

Now you see it, now you don't.

The Lakers' defense disappeared in Florida as Los Angeles lost to the Orlando Magic, 130-117, on Saturday night at the Amway Center.

After an inspirational start put the Lakers in front by eight points, Orlando went on a 10-1 run to start the second quarter and never looked back.

"I thought we came out ready to play tonight," said Lakers head coach Luke Walton. "I really liked our first quarter. Our intensity, our focus."

The Lakers came out flat to start the second half, and trailed by 21 points in the third quarter before ultimately waving the white flag, and inserting their bench for the better part of the fourth quarter. 

LeBron James led the Lakers with 22 points in the loss. As a team, Los Angeles had 14 turnovers.

"After the first quarter we were pretty bad defensively," conceded James. "We had a lot of breakdowns. That's uncharacteristic of us as of late. Credit to Orlando, they took advantage of us."

D.J. Augustin destroyed the Lakers with 22 points and seven assists. Nikola Vucevic scored 36 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Six different players scored in double figures for the Magic as they scored a season-high 130 points. 

Evan Fournier had 15 points and Terrence Ross scored 13 for the Magic, who have won four of five.

The 130 points were also the most allowed by the Lakers in regulation this season. They allowed 143 points in an overtime loss to the Spurs in San Antonio. 

"For some reason, our defense failed us," admitted Walton. "We've been getting a lot better defensively, and we played a good first quarter defensively. Maybe different rotations? We just weren't comfortable with the new guys. I don't know what the reason was, but we never recovered from that."

Lakers first round draft selection (No. 25 overall) Moritz Wagner out of Michigan made his NBA debut late in the fourth quarter.

"It was fun," said Wagner after the game. "I was just trying to get a rhythm and try and get reps."

The loss snapped the Lakers four-game winning streak as they fell to 8-7 on the season. In LeBron's first year with the Miami Heat and return to the Cavs, both teams also started 8-7 before eventually ascending to the NBA Finals.


Lakers: Lonzo Ball is shooting 51.3 percent (19 of 37) from 3-point range, but just 17.8 percent (five of 28) in road games. ... Three Lakers reserves reached double figures, led by Stephenson's 19 points. Josh Hart had 13 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 10.

Magic: Jonathon Isaac had four blocks in the first half, including two against James. ... The Magic and Lakers have split the season series seven years in a row. This was their first meeting this season.


Lakers: At Miami on Sunday night. 

Magic: Host the New York Knicks on Sunday night.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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