Culture of Hoops

Los Angeles Lakers outlast Orlando Magic

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

The Orlando Magic played the Los Angeles Lakers last night after a grueling loss the Utah Jazz the night before. Orlando, still in pursuit of just there fifth road win, were on an eight-game skid going into the game. The Lakers on the other hand are trying to avoid the worst season in the history of their franchise. Pau Gasol has challenged his team to evade the history books and to do so they need to go 9-4 down the stretch of the season. Jameer Nelson sat out, again pushing rookie Victor Oladipo to the starting lineup. He played well manning the point against Utah and Jacque Vaughn was happy with what he saw in him.

The Lakers started the game on an 11-2 run due in large part to turnovers and all around sloppy play by the Magic. Halfway through the first quarter Orlando already had seven turnovers to just three shot attempts. Surely this is a recipe for disaster, as the Lakers continued to expand on their lead.

Orlando was able to get it together and cut the lead to just five after falling behind 12 points. Both teams shot the ball well in the first quarter, the Lakers at 52 percent and Magic at 53, leading to a first quarter score of 29-24. The Magic came out of the gate scoring six quick points to take the lead in the second quarter. Much of this was done behind Tobais Harris’ work in the paint.

The Lakers responded with a 15-2 run on the back of Nick Young’s offense. They maintained a double-digit lead for the duration of the half there on out. The halftime buzzer sounded with a score of 55-48 after Oladipo and Afflalo scored late in the half to cut the lead to single digits.

Afllalo was not much of a factor in the first half with just three field goal attempts. The team’s leading scorer started off the second half looking for his shot but was unsuccessful in converting shots to points. Fellow backcourt teammate Oladipo was aggressive on the offensive end as well, regularly driving to the basket.  Pau Gasol did not return to the game after halftime due to a sudden illness but his team did not miss a beat. The Lakers stayed successful in large part due to the excellent play of Jordan Hill. Hill did a nice job replacing Gasol not only on the boards, but also by taking over the scoring void.

The third quarter was hard fought, both teams standing their ground on the scoreboard. Nick Young got hot in the fourth, giving the Lakers an eight-point lead with 10 minutes remaining. Orlando tried to get back in the game but the Lakers always had an answer and never really allowed the Magic to fully come back. Orlando hung around all the way through but it wasn’t enough and the Lakers pulled it out.

Magic Game Notes

Jordan Hill fills in for Pau Gasol

Center Pau Gasol sat out the second half due to illness and Jordan Hill replaced him fittingly, finishing with 28 points and 13 rebounds.

Nik Vucevic quiet in his return to Southern California

Nik Vucevic recorded just four points and 11 rebounds. The big man played college ball at USC and has always been fond of the area. He was less than impressive last night however and that hurt the Magic. Although he rebounded the way he usually does, Orlando was in need of his offense.

Victor Oladipo performs well in starting role

Victor Oladipo had another great performance, recording a double-double. Although his team lost, his individual performance led to a stat line of 21 points, 10 assists, and 5 rebounds.

Nick Young blows up

Nick Young had a great game, exploding in the fourth quarter to lead his team to the victory. Hitting shots from everywhere on the floor, it seemed like he couldn’t miss. He even put up a desperation three from well beyond the arc as the shot clock expired and hit nothing but net. He finished with 26 points.

Stat of the night

Jordan Hill recorded a career-high 28 points, his previous high was 24.

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