The tank isn’t real.
Perhaps it was the NCAA tournament, but the team played with a bit more energy than usual. Jordan Hill’s Arizona team just blew out Gonzaga. Kentucky, Jodie Meeks’s former school, just beat Wichita State and handed them their first loss. Even Mark Madsen’s Stanford team beat out Kansas.
Jordan Hill played a career game, with a new career high of 28 points, going 9 of 15 from the field, and hitting 10 of 13 from the free throw line. He also grabbed 13 rebounds to help lead the team with +17 in overall impact. Jodie Meeks didn’t have a great shooting day, going 4 of 11 from the field, but his tenacious defense forced 6 steals. Kent Bazemore added 8 points and 8 assists in 23 minutes of play. Nick Young set a new record with the most games over 20 points off the bench. He scored 26 points on 8 of 17 from the field. He tied a franchise record 8(!) 4-point plays.
Overall, the Lakers did a solid job on Victor Oladipo, who played the point guard position, and struggled with 8 total turnovers. Nik Vucevic and Moe Harkless couldn’t get anything going up front, and Tobias Harris came up with 16 points and 9 rebounds in 23 minutes of play.
The Orlando Magic played a relatively loose offensive structure. The lack of discipline was evident, as most shots were created from the perimeter, with little ball penetration in terms of post-entry passing or slashing. While they were close in terms of points in the paint compared to the Lakers, the Lakers were able to get out into transition and provide a spark on both ends of the floor. The Magic couldn’t develop any extended offensive rhythm in the half-court set. They spurred on a few runs, but nothing was much closer than a three point deficit.
The next game is on Tuesday against the New York Knicks at Staples Center.
Time to get ready for Phil Jackson’s homecoming.