LOS ANGELES — Following a crushing loss on Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers that featured late-game collapse, the Los Angeles Lakers nearly experienced the same sequence of events against the Orlando Magic two days later. However, the Lakers were able to avoid the same fate with Brook Lopez nailing a pair of free throws with 0.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter to lift a 108-107 win.
Lopez was the primary offensive factor for the Lakers’ all night long posting a team-high 27 points on 12 of 18 shooting from the field while without registering a single rebound, which marked the first time in NBA history that a player seven-feet or taller accomplished that feat in a game.
Brook Lopez is the first player in NBA history listed at 7-feet or taller with 25 points and zero rebounds in a game.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 8, 2018
The 29-year-old led the way in the fourth quarter scoring a period-best 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field that was capped by his pair of big free throws in the waning seconds that prevented a late falter from a double-digit lead. Following the game, head coach Luke Walton praised Lopez for sticking with being primarily an offensive factor in the low post and in the paint.
“He is really good, really talented,” Walton said. “He did a really nice job tonight of establishing the block for us and getting down there and scoring in the paint. It was part of the gameplan because we felt like he had an advantage on the block down there. Give him a lot of credit for sticking with it all game along and continuing to bail us out and to hit big shots.”
Lopez has been a steady offensive factor in his first season with the Lakers averaging 12.0 points per game scoring in double figures 33 times this season with his sixth 20-point outing of the season Wednesday night against the Magic. He attributed his big night to the unselfish play of his teammates, especially Isaiah Thomas.
“I think our team did a great job of just sharing the ball and trusting one another,” Lopez said. “I thought IT [Isaiah Thomas] was so spectacular-he was just setting people up, getting assists, hockey assists, the whole game, especially in the fourth quarter. He really set ht tone and set the pace for us.”
Thomas offered up his own praise toward the veteran big man for his strong performance.
— Bob Garcia IV (@bgarciaivsports) March 8, 2018
This latest win has helped the Lakers further hedge in the right direction as they are now three wins above of their season total last year and are sitting 5.5 games out of the final playoff spot with 18 games left to play. It is still certainly a difficult path to getting into the postseason, but seeping out contests like Wednesday night continue that push forward.
Bob Garcia IV
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