After getting Jordan Hill, Steve Nash and Nick Young back on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers entered Sunday’s game against the Orlando Magic without the services of Nash, who felt a tweak in his back towards the end of Friday’s loss and Xavier Henry, who has a torn ligament in his left wrist. In a battle for lottery pick positioning, the Lakers started their 30th different lineup in 69 games.
Unlike what has been the case in many of their games, the Lakers got off to a quick start to take an early lead. Pau Gasol and Hill were particularly effective, combining for 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting through the first six minutes of the game. After building a 16-6 lead, the Lakers allowed the Magic to go on a 7-0 run to get back to within three points. A Nick Young four-point play momentarily helped stave off Magic momentum and the Lakers led 29-24 at the end of the quarter.
Tobias Harris opened the quarter with three consecutive baskets in the paint and the Lakers lead quickly turned to a one-point deficit. A layup from Kent Bazemore and a three-point play from Young helped the Lakers reclaim the lead. A Young fastbreak jumper from Young gave the Lakers their largest lead at 44-32 and forced the Magic to call a timeout. The Magic finished the quarter on an 8-0 run to climb back to within seven points.
Robert Sacre began the quarter in place of Gasol, who remained in the locker room after halftime due to dizziness and feeling nauseous. Hill picked up where he left off, scoring eight points in the third to bring his game total to 22, leading all Lakers. The active forward also grabbed nine rebounds through three quarters. The Magic closed another quarter with a run to trail by just two points heading into the fourth.
Bazemore and Young opened the quarter with consecutive baskets to give the Lakers a 79-73 lead. Aaron Afflalo made a jump shot to get the Magic back within three points, but their offense then struggled as Bazemore and Young continued to add to the Lakers’ lead. The Magic managed to get wihin four points when Young hit a deep 3-pointer to push the Laker lead up to seven with under four minutes remaining. Hill would collect two offensive rebounds that each resulted in free throws, which helped keep the Lakers ahead. With a career-high 28 points and 13 rebounds from Hill, the Lakers defeated the Magic, 103-94.
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