Orlando Magic Stun Lakers, Defeat Dwight Howard and Los Angeles

Orlando Magic Stun Lakers, Defeat Dwight Howard and Los Angeles


After their best game of the season on Friday night against the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers were back in action on Sunday night against the Orlando Magic. The team was looking to crawl above .500 for the second time this season, but that wasn’t the biggest storyline headed into the game. The matchup with the Magic meant it would be the first time in Dwight Howard’s career that he would face Orlando, the team he spent the first eight years of his NBA career.

Howard, who scored 28 points and grabbed 20 rebounds on Friday, was looking to back that up against his former squad on Sunday. L.A. was once again without Steve Nash and Steve Blake, who were both still recovering from injuries. The Magic entered the game with a 5-10 record, and were hoping to get their sixth win against the team that beat them in the NBA Finals back in 2009.

First Quarter

The game began with a turnover from Pau Gasol and four quick points for the Magic, but after that initial mishap it was quite a productive quarter for the Spaniard. He began hitting his outside shots after a few nice assists from Kobe Bryant, and was the main offensive weapon in the first period. Kobe was certainly in facilitator mode early in the first, and he hit Gasol for two early assists.

It was Metta World Peace that scored the first points for the Lakers, however, as he had a breakaway dunk followed by a steal and a fastbreak layup early in the quarter. World Peace, who has continued his surprisingly high productivity this season, was once again a catalyst on both ends of the floor early on for Los Angeles.

The team played reasonably well on offense in the first quarter, but wasn’t particularly strong on the defensive end. They allowed the Magic to get quite a few open looks, and Orlando took advantage. At the end of the first quarter the Lakers held a narrow 27-23 lead.

Second Quarter

At the onset of the second quarter Mike D’Antoni had the team’s bench players on the court with Pau Gasol. After rumors that Gasol might be moved to the bench in the wake of Jamison’s 30-point effort on Friday, it was interesting to see how Gasol did with the rest of the reserves. The experiment worked for a little while as the Lakers managed to push their lead to nine early in the period.

Unfortunately the Lakers weren’t able to keep up their defensive intensity for the duration of the quarter, which allowed the Magic to crawl back into the game as the quarter progressed. Orlando was receiving plenty of open looks and lanes to the basket, and they took advantage. The history of the Lakers struggling against quick point guards in the past is no secret, and Jameer Nelson took advantage of this on Sunday night.

The final play of the quarter didn’t exactly go the way the Lakers had in mind. Kobe attempted to save a ball that was headed out of bounds. The ball eventually ended up in the hands of Arron Afflalo, who buried a three to tie the game 52-52 at halftime. Orlando closed the first half on a 19-10 run to tie the game at the break.

Third Quarter

The Lakers opened the third looking to try and reestablish a lead and some energy against the Magic. Unfortunately they seemed more lethargic to start the second half than they did to end the first. There was no rotation on defense or offense, and just nothing was working for the starters. There was far too much standing around and isolation attempts rather than the up-tempo style that was so successful against the Nuggets on Friday.

Things got worse for the Lakers when Gasol was blocked by Glen Davis. The knee tendinitis that Gasol has been struggling with lately was very evident tonight, as he was unable to get hardly any lift on several dunk attempts throughout the game.

At the end of the quarter the Magic broke out the Hack-A-Dwight strategy, fouling Howard whenever the Lakers got the ball. The strategy paid off for Orlando in the third as Dwight went 1-4 from the FT line in the final two minutes of the quarter. This allowed Orlando to keep the game close despite struggling from the field in the third period. With 12 minutes left in the game the Lakers led the Magic 77-73.

Fourth Quarter

After their most exciting game of the season on Friday night it was another clunker on Sunday at the Staples Center. Through three quarters the Lakers consistently displayed a lack of energy and aggression, and it allowed a very sub-par Orlando team to stay in the game and hang with Los Angeles. The lack of ball movement and rotation from off-ball players on the offensive end was a major problem for L.A., and the Magic took advantage.

Unfortunately the Lakers didn’t look much better on the defensive end, either. Still, despite their lethargic performance the team had a lead going into the final quarter and had a chance to win based purely on their talent level compared to that of the Magic. The Lakers also failed to get much production from their bench. After a game that was arguably the best of his career, Jodie Meeks didn’t get significant run until midway through the fourth. The lack of bench support was something that people began to recognize.

Their lead disappeared halfway through the quarter when Orlando took their first lead of the second half after a pair of missed free throws from Howard. L.A. had been threatening to give the game to Orlando for most of the night, and it seemed that suddenly the Magic were going to try and take advantage of the opportunity.

Orlando broke out the Hack-A-Dwight strategy once more but this time Dwight was a little more productive, making 3-4 in a short stretch of time late in the fourth. Orlando pushed their lead to six with 3:41 left in the fourth, sparking a Mike D’Antoni timeout.

One of the more confusing parts of the game was the lack of Jordan Hill. The team was obviously hurting for energy on the floor, but Hill never made it onto the court despite being one of their high-energy players. Hill’s absence was glaringly conspicuous, as the team seemingly could have benefited from his effort on the boards.

In the end it was the combination of missed free throws from Howard and a complete lack of defense from the Lakers that sealed their fate. The Magic got hot at the end of the game, but so much of that can be credited to the Lakers absolutely porous defense. They played with no sense of urgency or intensity, and in the end it cost them the game.

Orlando ended up running away from the Lakers at Staples Center, once again bringing up questions about the team and their abilities this season. Orlando defeated Dwight Howard and the Lakers at the Staples Center, 113-103.

  • joe23

    once again Kobe Bryant score 30+ points loss again. He needs to stop scoring 30+ points a game, just give it up. Or your team will loss every game.


      That has nothing to do with it… When teammates aren’t making shots or playing hard, the Lakers will lose. Dwight Howard missed freethrows cost the Lakers a handful of games.

      • Rasheed

        Coach benching Pau instead of Howard was a biggest mistake of the 4th quarter.
        Coach is learning the system hard way unfortunately.

    • Adjeff8

      Lakers lost by 10. If Kobe scores 24, then they lose by 20. It’s not Kobe. He’s the only player earning his paycheck. They lost because of Howard’s free throws and Gasols diminishing talent

      • Rasheed

        Gasol was benched in 4th.
        Howard’s free throws cost the game and poor defense.

    • trolol4life

      Are you stupid? Just imagine how our points would’ve been tonight if Kobe wouldn’t had scored 30 points, when the team isn’t participating, Kobe takes over, he’s said it many times before.

    • thekobeshooter

      Kobe bryant 27 shots again kobe 30 points again and again lose something gotta give no ball movement if you go look at the denver game the team was killing he still was trying to get his points low key go check the tape in 4th q lakers up by 20 he still shooting trying to lead the league in scoring smh he’s to old for this

  • How

    I sick and tired of this uninspired, inconsistent garbage. Im done watching their games until they get a nice streak going.

    • trolol4life

      Same here, I’ve been missing the gym just to see this “Super-Star” team, but it’s got to the point where I’m frustrated just watching them win one – lose the other, fuck this.

    • 11000

      a laker fan admitting to be a bandwagoner? ironic.

      • shove off

        I have more emotion and love for the lakers than you’d know. I’ll watch when when they start winning for the sake of not getting high blood pressure. So shove that bandwaggoner comment up your ass you prick.

        • 11000

          if by “emotion and love” you mean “not watching any games because they might lose,” than yeah you have a lot of that.

    • Rasheed

      naw, i feel like that when I am upset when they lose the game, but there is no way I am going miss the games. I am going to watch all Games till the end…

  • thelakersareunderperforminglol

    HAHAHAHAHAHA…glad Princess Howard got what he had coming to him. Must be tough to be the 2nd best team in your town. :/

  • joe23

    dude… nuggets are better team than the magic… how many points bryant makes that game? less than 20… look all the games they played, if bryant scoreless they win, if he score a lot they loss… bryant care only about being a top scorer in the league… if he really wanna win this year and get another ring, he better stop scoring that high and just make a play for his teammates.
    he cant even defend his guard, his not like the old bryant anymore… im a kobe bryant fan too man…

    just watch the game and, take note. STUPID.

    • prince

      when kobe starts to shoot all his teammates become lazy as shit because they think that kobe will always bail them out, it’s not kobe’s problem it’s the teams effort. and once nothing is working he starts shooting because he DOES bail them out at times which is their only chance to win when there is no team effort.

      • prince

        how about you stop looking at statistics and actually watch the game?

        • joe23

          the team came lazy because they can’t even hold and shoot the ball, kobe hog the ball and shoot to much..he don’t even make a play in the 4th quarter his only making a play on his self… it is useless to take a time out and the coach draw a play, if his not following the play… look at the game last night the last 4 minutes of the game “beside fouling of D12”, kobe bryant did all the shooting and he don’t even share the ball or no ball movement at all, its all in his hand.
          statistic? come on man… I’m watching the game. do you?

  • Alex

    kobe needs to get the team involved.

  • Lyle

    Lakers don’t wanna win. I don’t see the intensity and the will to win.

  • Oliver from Germany

    D’Antoni’s comment, that the team is too slow and has problems against fast and young teams hurts my mind. The complete league and every fan all over the world knows this about two years. This man isn’t the right. Same thing like in NY. The team is the issue, not his system, which he can change. He will never have success!!!!!

  • azndragon

    it starts with the coaching staff it seems all the players are just playing for the sake of being paid but does not have the inspiration and motivation from the coach to do better. Well the management stop doing trade rumor on Pau Gasol but rather look at the bench, it should be in this area the management should think of trading some personnel….The starters are good but it is the bench aspects that does not contribute so well….

  • oclla

    It starts with hustle and energy. Lakers constantly put themselves in situations that dont benefit them due to their lack of play. For example, if Lakers would have played with effort, they easily win last nights game. Maybe not a blowout but a good win, preventing from the opponent team from resorting to the ‘hack-a-dwight’ technique.

    I dont understand why Lakers show up only every other day. It is not because of the fast paced style of play. They have only played about 3 full games with that pace. So it is not that they’re tired at all. Maybe Kobe was right, that the Lakers players were to happy after the win vs Denver.

    Fellow Lakers fans, dont put too much emphasis on one good win. As we have seen, Lakers will be up and down and I dont think that will change much this season.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rjenassoc Richard English

    The Coaches have to stand up, take charge and do a better job. If necessary get tougher and demand each player hustle and play to the level to win that they are capable of. As each player did in their last win. All pieces have to be working individually and collectively.