Paolo Banchero also put forth an outstanding effort with 25 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds – no easy task when competing on such an international stage as that offered by Wagner!
As their injuries had sidelined five key players, the Lakers relied heavily on Anthony Davis to lead their offense – who delivered 28 points, 13 rebounds, and seven blocks! Their difficulty on the boards (losing out 51-40 to the Magic in terms of rebounding) proved an obstacle that they struggled to overcome.
One of the decisive factors in the Magic’s victory was their ability to capitalize on Laker turnovers. They turned 17 Lakers’ miscues into 22 valuable points, building a commanding 25-point lead late in the third quarter.
LeBron James, despite contributing 24 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, acknowledged the critical areas that need improvement for the Lakers. He mentioned, “That’s definitely been our trend — offensive rebounds and points off turnovers. We’ll do a good job of getting a stop and then an offensive rebound allows them to score.”
The Lakers’ depleted roster was notably missing some of their key big men due to injuries. LeBron James emphasized, “We have three of our bigger bodies out right now with injuries. … It would help, but that’s definitely one of the ways we have to look at to get better.”
The Orlando Magic showcased their depth as rookie Anthony Black stepped up in his first start, contributing 11 crucial points. Goga Bitadze, who started at center, added 10 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks to bolster the team’s performance.
Laker coach Darvin Ham acknowledged that the game came down to a mental approach, and the Magic’s energy and effort outshone the Lakers. The young Magic squad displayed resilience and determination, outworking their more experienced opponents.
The game’s momentum shifted early on when Franz Wagner scored seven consecutive points, and Paolo Banchero orchestrated a 13-0 run that put the Magic ahead in the first quarter. By halftime, Orlando enjoyed a 16-point lead.
Anthony Davis, who had been logging an average of 40.2 minutes in the Lakers’ previous games, faced foul trouble when Banchero executed a powerful dunk at the start of the third period, leading to his fourth foul.
Orlando made use of their opportunity, with Banchero and Black leading a 9-0 run that extended their lead up to 99-74 at the end of the third quarter. Cole Anthony added three three-pointers during this run as they extended it even further with three-point shots from three-point range by himself!
The Magic’s win marked an end to their seven-game losing streak against the Lakers and proved their impressively increasing potential. Banchero, last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year, gave much credit for this success to Anthony Black – their pivotal figure who went beyond expectations by recording an impressive plus/minus ratio of +32 after just 30 minutes of game action!
Jamahl Mosley praised Black for being fearless under pressure and making sound decisions under duress. Their victory also demonstrated their team’s resilience when facing hardship or difficulties in playouts.
The Lakers had to contend with injuries to several key players that limited their options and rotation, though their fans can remain confident knowing their stars will return at full strength for future matches.