With no Anthony Davis, no Rajon Rondo and less than four minutes of Alex Caruso, the Los Angeles Lakers came close to overcoming a 21-point deficit, but after eight lead changes, the Orlando Magic came out on top 119-118 Wednesday at Staples Center. This marks the first loss to a sub .500 team of the season for the Lakers.
The Lakers looked lost to start the game and gave up 65 points in the first half. But they were able to climb all the way back thanks to a few unexpected contributions from their reserves. Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels, who have been buried in the guard rotation, stepped up in a big way for Los Angeles on Wednesday, combining for 39 points. Cook led the way with a season-high 22 points.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also provided big minutes for the Lakers, scoring 17 points and getting it done on the the boards, grabbing 6 rebounds. On most nights when Cook, Daniels and Caldwell-Pope combine for 56 points, it’s a guaranteed win for the Lakers, but they didn’t get the help they needed from their usual scorers.
On Wednesday night, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma shot 9-29 from the field. James ended the night with 19 points, while Kuzma had just 4. While James was able to help in other ways, dishing out 19 assists — tied for his career-high — Kuzma struggled to make an impact, and on a night where he was supposed to fill in for Davis, that’s just not going to cut it.
The Lakers will have the next two days to recuperate before taking on the Houston Rockets Saturday at the Toyota Center. Hopefully by then the training staff will have good news about Anthony Davis, Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo.