Dec 23, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Wesley Johnson (11) walks off the court in the second half against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns won 117-90. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers Lose Third Straight, Falling To The Magic 114-105

What started off as a promising road trip has devolved into a sad reminder of this team’s persistent shortcomings. The Lakers are often more competitive against the top teams than they are against the league’s lesser lights. After coming up short against the World Champion Miami Heat, the team looked to get well against the 12-32 Orlando Magic.

The Lakers looked sluggish defensively, and possessed none of the fire that they brought to the beginning of this road trip, losing to the Magic 114-105 at the Amway Center in Orlando.

In the first quarter, the Lakers jumped out on a 16-8 run to open the game, with Kendall Marshall orchestrating the offense with 3 early assists. Orlando’s Tobias Harris scored 9 points to keep the Magic within 1 with 4:58 to go in the period. Marshall and Nick Young scored 5 points apiece to give the Lakers the lead 32-28 at the end of the first. The Lakers shot 57 percent for the quarter.

In the second, The Lakers surrendered their early lead as they were plagued with scoring droughts. Tobias Harris continued his strong play with 8 points and Rookie of the Year candidate Victor Oladipo repeatedly forced the action, getting to the line, scoring 6. A flurry of 3 pointers and 4 free throws enabled the Lakers to regain the lead, 55-53, to close the half.

The Lakers opened the third with a 9-2 run leading 65-55. As quickly as the lead grew, it disappeared as the Magic reeled off a 20-4 run that the Lakers never recovered from. Defending the paint continues to be their Achilles’ Heel.  All Star candidate Aaron Afflalo scored 13 points as the Magic lead by 11 at the end of 3 quarters.

In the fourth, the Lakers continued to struggle offensively, especially with turnovers. They were able to pull within 6 with 4:58 to go. They never got closer, as the Magic pulled away down the stretch. The Magic made 27 free throws to the Lakers’ 11.

Pau Gasol scored 21 points with 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Kendall Marshall scored 19 points and 14 assists. Jodie Meeks, Nick Young , and Ryan Kelly scored 17, 16, and 15 points respectively. The Lakers shot 45 percent from the field, had 11 turnovers, and made 12 three pointers. The game wasn’t lost on offense.

For the Magic, Tobias Harris had a season high 28 points with 20 rebounds. Jameer Nelson had 22 points and 6 assists. Aaron Afflalo had 23 points and 6 assists.

The Lakers lost their third consecutive game to fall to 2-3 on their annual Grammy road trip. They travel to New York to take on the Knicks on Sunday.

 

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