Monday night looked like it was going to be easy for the Los Angeles Lakers: the Orlando Magic were missing multiple key players, Anthony Davis was hitting shots and the defense looked as sharp as it’s looked all season. However, as we’ve come to learn, nothing is going to be easy while LeBron James is sidelined.
After leading by as much as 16 points in the first quarter, the Lakers let the Magic outscore them 40-22 in the second quarter. From then on, it was a real fight to the finish. Fortunately, the Lakers were able to separate themselves again, this time in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, and they won 114-103.
Dennis Schröder was at the center of everything the Lakers did in the fourth quarter, making shots from seemingly everywhere on the floor and creating plays for his teammates. He ended the game with a team-high 21 points on 10-18 shooting from the field and 10 assists. He now has five double-doubles on the season.
Monday was also a bounce-back game for The Brow and the Penguin, as they tallied a combined 31 points, 19 rebounds and 4 blocks for the starters. Add Montrezl Harrell’s 18 points off of the bench, and you have three solid performances from players that can all spend time at the center position in the postseason. When you consider that Marc Gasol watched the entirety of the game from the bench, that’s wild.
Granted, it was against a team that had no business being in the game, but every win counts for the Lakers right now both in the standings and from a team morale standpoint.
With a win on Monday, the Lakers increased the gap between them and the Dallas Mavericks back to two games, however, the Mavericks played the Sacramento Kings later tonight. The Lakers will be hoping for a Mavericks loss on Monday and a win for themselves against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.