L.A.

Defensive lapses too much for Lakers to overcome

Lakers

The Lakers fell to their second straight loss to the Magic on Sunday afternoon in a contest where their defensive struggles came into play.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES – Coming off an ugly win on Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to put together enough to pull out another one Sunday afternoon against the Orlando Magic 108-104.

This was a tough outing for the Lakers that saw them once again struggle taking care of the ball with 18 turnovers along with their free throw woes continuing to be a theme having only made 20-of-31 free throws in the contest. This had contributed to the Lakers falling behind by as many as 16 points in the contest in the second half. 

This all came after the Lakers had raced off to a strong start in the first quarter holding a 29-19 advantage with second-year forward Kyle Kuzma dropping 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the period. However, Los Angeles was able to turn things around in the fourth quarter completely erasing the double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter that saw them tie it up at 104 with 2:24 left after a pair of free throws from forward LeBron James, who finished with a team-best 24 points along with seven assists.

It saw them score 33 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor along with six assists on 10 made field goals in the period. Los Angeles just simply came up short in the final two minutes with some shortcomings on shots in the quarter with them missing all four 3-pointer attempts on their last four possessions. 

“Disappointing loss,” head coach Luke Walton said. “We got to get back to battling for the basketball. I thought we played well in the first an fourth quarter. I thought we played well enough in the first half to have a good size lead. Tonight just not enough sharpness with the offense. We got to get our passing up again. The less we are passing the ball the more we are turning it over. We have to continue to clean that up as we move along.”

It was a loss that the Lakers have fought their way back into in the fourth quarter that saw them make an 11-2 run late in the period to tie the contest. It was a loss that simply came down to being unable to seal the deal late in the period and overcome their defensive lapses in the middle two quarters of the game that had fueled Nikola Vucevic‘s huge game with a double-double with 31 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists. 

It’s something that Kuzma believes can be turned around the Lakers take a more aggressive approach to their game plan defensively moving forward that exemplified through center JaVale McGee‘s season-high seven blocks in the contest.

“Just got to be aggressive offensively and defensively from the jump,” said Kuzma, who had 21 points and five assists. “I will say anytime we are aggressive on defense we are pretty good on the other side of the floor.”

Los Angeles will have the chance to turn it around on Tuesday night on the road against the Denver Nuggets.

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Bob Garcia IV

Staff Writer at Sports Out West
Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He is also currently covering the NBA and NFL for ClutchPoints. He was previously the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarciaivsports.
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