The Los Angeles Lakers have started what was supposed to be a golden era with Steve Nash and Dwight Howard with nothing but fool's gold in their hands. Their record has reflected just this, hovering around the .500 mark for the majority of the season, but this 9th loss will be the one heard 'round the world. The Orlando Magic went into Staples Center and embarrassed the Los Angeles Lakers in the 113-103 loss. Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Maurice Harkless, Glen Davis, and Nikola Vucevic; the Orlando starting five that took the Lakers out back and put them down like Old Yeller.
We've been patient, we've seen the coaching change, we've seen bench rotations changes, we've seen losses pile up, but most of all? We've seen inconsistency. This was the perfect game for the Lakers to show they can play consistent game to game, but as they scaled that wall of inconsistency they fell to their death, breaking every bone in their bodies on the way down. There's no reason the Lakers should have lost against this Orlando Magic squad, but they did. Oh, they did.
The Magic averaged 91 points per game going into the game. Well, that'll be shooting up as they hung 113 on the purple and fool's gold, scoring 40 of those points in the 4th quarter alone. All of the Lakers' flaws were exposed: Dwight's free throw shooting, the lack of confident post play, the decline of Pau Gasol, the inability for the perimeter defenders to move off-ball, and an offensive flow that's equivalent of rush hour traffic in the city they represent. The Traffic Time Lakers.
Yada-yada, Kobe Bryant had 34 points on 27 shots, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds. His counter-part, Arron Afflalo, had 30 points on 18 shots, shooting 4-8 from deep. Hack-a-Dwight was in full effect, and the big man went 9-21 from the line as his former team watched the man that once led them rendered helpless. He ended the night with 21 points and 15 rebounds, but what mattered most was winning with his new team. They didn't win. That's the only stat that matters in this game.
Pau Gasol played 28 minutes, scoring 11 points on 4-11 shooting. He spent stretches of his playing time as the only starter with the rest of the reserves and never took advantage of being THE guy on the floor, the opportunity to have the post to himself going to waste. Pass in to Pau, pass out from Pau, pass it back in, another pass out from Pau. There's something wrong with Pau when he goes up for a layup and gets his foot caught on the paint.
Meanwhile, the Orlando Magic offense was crisp, decisive, and effective. Going into the game their lead scorer, Glen Davis, averaged 14.8 points per game. They had four players in the starters alone over that. They had 34 assists as a team, with 13 of them coming from late game time decision Jameer Nelson, who also chipped in with 19 points.
The Magic played a great game of basketball together and outplayed the Lakers. With only two games at home left over the next three weeks, the time for soul searching has arrived right on their doorstep. In a box filled with...
Enjoy the win, Orlando. That's all there is to say. Well fought, well played. Be sure to check Orlando Pinstriped Post to see their reaction to defeating Dwight Howard and the Lakers.
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