The Los Angeles Lakers ended their seven-game road trip with a thud in a 109-90 loss to the Orlando Magic. The return to Los Angeles will be a somber one as they’ve now lost 12 of their last 13 games, looking like lost puppies after seemingly putting things together in a well-played game in Cleveland.
The Lakers tried to switch up the script in Orlando, spotting the Magic a huge lead to start the game instead of galloping out ahead as they have in their previous two losses. Orlando obliged, opening the first quarter on a 10-0 lead. The Lakers didn’t get on the board until 6:51 was left in the first and gave up 30 points to one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA, all while the Magic blocked a franchise-high nine shots through the first 12 minutes.
The referees could have called this after one, but there were no Christmas miracles to be had. The beat down continued through the next three quarters, though the Lakers did make a late push to cut the lead down to six points in the fourth quarter. It didn’t take long for the Magic to balloon their lead back up to double digits as they closed out the deflated Lakers.
The Magic were without their leading scorer Evan Fournier but had no trouble scoring in bunches on the Lakers. Elfrid Payton dropped 25 points, making three of his six three-point attempts while dishing out nine assists. Serge Ibaka nothced a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Lakers shot 36 percent as a team as Jordan Clarkson scored a team-high 18 points off the bench.
It’s a long way back to California from Florida, but the Lakers need all the time they can together to figure out what’s going on. The losses aren’t the issue so much as how they’re losing, and it’s been disheartening loss after disheartening loss. Until Christmas Day in Staples Center, where hopefully the Lakers unwrap whatever it is they’re lacking in order to be competitive again.