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LeBron James, Lakers ride monster third quarter to victory over Magic

After a back-and-forth first half, the King LeBron James and the Lakers overwhelmed the Magic in the third quarter and cruised to a blowout

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NBA: Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers returned to Staples Center on Sunday to face off against the rebuilding Orlando Magic looking to build off Friday’s win at Oklahoma City. Though Orlando hung with the Lakers in the first half, L.A. turned it on in the third quarter to demolish another team with one of the worst rosters in the NBA, manhandling the Magic 106-94.

Lebron James turned in another dominant performance with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his 101st career triple-double. James continues to look less and less bothered by his abdomen injury, which is a great sign for the Lakers.

With Anthony Davis still out due to knee soreness, Russell Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker joined games as double-digit scorers in the starting lineup. Westbrook had 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists while Horton-Tucker, in one of his best games of the season, had 19 points and three assists. THT looked as comfortable as he’s ever been in helping facilitate the offense and also was a major defensive disruptor with six steals.

The Lakers opened the game on a 9-3 run thanks to several Magic turnovers, but Orlando, one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA this season, got hot from deep as the Lakers’ season-long perimeter defense woes continue. The Magic made four three-pointers in the first quarter to take a 25-18 lead and led 52-49 after a back-and-forth second period.

But LeBron turned it on in the third quarter, scoring 13 of his 30 points, punctuated by a trademark tomahawk dunk off a pocket pass from Westbrook in transition. That dunk helped spark a 23-0 Lakers run, during which the Magic failed to score for over eight minutes (and went nearly 10 minutes without a made field goal), effectively putting the game away for good. The Lakers had their way on offense while Orlando went 2-24 in the quarter with 9 turnovers, while the Lakers outscored them 36-10.

The Lakers bullied the Magic in the third no matter who was on the court, and it seemed like everything went their way, from classic LeBron fadeaways to and-ones to easy lobs for Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan to even missed passes somehow ending up in the hands of an open Carmelo Anthony at the top of the key for an easy 3-point look.

Anthony once again found his shooting stroke at the soon-to-be-renamed Staples Center, leading L.A.’s bench scorers with 13 points and going 3-5 from three. As Frank Vogel alluded to on Friday, Austin Reaves saw some more time in the rotation and finished with 5 points and 4 rebounds in 21 minutes.

The Magic found a bit more success in the fourth, going on a 21-8 run to get as close as 10. But James and Reaves each hit three-pointers to keep the game out of reach, and as a wise man once said, the jello started jiggling.

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