Lakers

Lakers Lose First Game Since Christmas Despite Surprise Backcourt Performances Against Orlando

Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Even with Lakers reserve guards Troy Daniels and Quinn Cook combining for 39 points off the bench, the Lakers could not finish their 21-point comeback to beat the Magic.

Cook and Daniels shot a combined 15 of 26 from the field including four made three pointers each.

“Those guys got hot, they started the game the right way,” Cook said after leading his team in scoring with 22 points in their first loss in three weeks. “We gave them a twenty point cushion… and we were playing from behind all night.”

The 119-118 loss at Staples Center on Jan. 15. brings a close to the Lakers first half of the season. Still in the West’s No. 1 seed, L.A. dropped what would have been their 10th straight-win of the season, matching their longest streak of the season. The L versus the Magic is their first since dropping the Christmas Day matchup to the Clippers.

“I’m proud of the guys that got us back in the game, those guys gave us a big lift but we did not play well enough to win the game tonight.” Vogel said about Cook, Daniels and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after the loss.

Caldwell-Pope also chipped in 17 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Lakers back court that was down Alex Caruso too after he took an elbow to the head. Caruso went to the locker room and was evaluated for a concussion. The results were inconclusive.

At the half, the Lakers trailed 17-6 in fast break points and 22-14 in 2nd chance points as they trailed 65-58. Cook’s solo 7-0 run to close out the third quarter helped bring the Lakers within one-point to close out the third after trailing by as much as 21 early in the first half.

“I’m not surprised that Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels came in and did what they did,” Vogel said about the big performances from the two guards at the end of the bench. “It doesn’t really change anything for me other than reaffirms the confidence I have in those guys.”

The Daniels and Cook duo received added minutes for the Lakers in their second-straight game down Rajon Rondo and Anthony Davis.

“Real game action is the best teacher,” Daniels said about getting some rhythm with more minutes coming over the last few weeks the Lakers dealt with injuries. He finished with 17 points in 21 minutes, including 4 of 5 from three-point range.

As for LeBron James, he was also proud of the team’s effort.

“I’m not a disappointed type of guy,” James said after his team’s first loss to a sub-.500 record team this season. “Our bench is the reason there was a game in the end. “

James finished with 19 points, 19 assists and 3 rebounds in 36 minutes but he shot 7-of-19 from the field including 1-for-3 from three-point range.

Other notable performance off the bench included Dwight Howard who registered 9 points and 16 rebounds versus the team that drafted him.

Meanwhile, starting center JaVale McGee also came up big with 14 points, 3 blocks and 9 boards in 22 minutes including a highlight block on Terrance Ross.

“I get dunked on all the time but I block dunks all the time too,” McGee said after his meme-able highlight. “It’s either way… that’s what I signed up for.”

For Orlando, Markelle Fultz hit two contested shots at the end of the game that sealed it.

“He’s had a bunch of games like this when he’s made plays in the last minute,” Magic head coach Steve Clifford said about his young point guard’s strong close.

Fultz said the win shows how deep his team goes and how they believe in each other.

“It just shows that I’m the No. 1 pick,” Fultz said after his big performance versus the Lakers. “I don’t have anything to say to anybody that doubted me.”

The 2017 No. 1 pick finished with 21 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds. Fultz is averaging 11.5 points and 5.5 assists in 39 games, the most games he’s played in his three seasons.

Nikola Vucevic and added 19 points each too.

“Our confidence grew throughout the game.” Vucevic said about his team fighting the Lakers run. “…We just kept finding ways.”

Vucevic hit a three towards the end of the game that helped the Magic secure a two-score lead.

Aaron Gordon chipped in 21 points and 6 rebounds as well. Gordon had a crucial and-one play in the fourth quarter that helped the Magic fight off the Lakers. Also in the front court, Wes Iwundu scored 19 points.

Off the bench, the Magic had Terrance Ross with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

Next the Magic will try to move to .500 and continue moving up the Eastern Conference standings with a win versus the Clippers on Jan. 16.

The Lakers, on the other hand, are still hold a four game lead on the West’s No. 1 seed as they hit the road for a five-game road trip beginning with the Rockets on Jan. 18.

Magic vs Lakers Notes:

JaVale McGee had 8 of the Lakers first 10 points which were mostly dunks.

Quinn Cook came in and hit two shots back-to-back. Caruso got hurt and left for the locker room in the first half. He did not return after an elbow to the head and getting evaluated for a concussion.

Lakers trailed 35-29 at the end of the first.

L.A. trailed by as much as 20 in the first half after a 13-0 run to open the second quarter. The deficit was cut to 65-58 after a four-point play from Troy Daniels before the end of the half.

Daniel’s dunk came after a JaVale McGee highlight block on Terrance Ross.

Back-to-back threes helped the Lakers stop the bleeding right after the six minute mark they trailed 87-74.

K.C.P hit another three with 3:3 left in the third that brought the Lakers back within single-digits at 79-88.

L.A. converted another three and followed that with a Quinn Cook bucket that brought them within five. Cook would convert another three to bring the Lakers within one at 89-88 with his own 7-0 run to close the third.

The Lakers finally regained the lead at 94-93 with a three from LeBron James with 10 minutes left in the fourth. James followed that with another shot to give the Lakers a three-point lead.

Troy Daniels hit a three before the final three minutes of the fourth that again the Lakers a one-point advantage at 106-105.

Cook hit another three before the final minute of the game that brought the Lakers within 110-111. However, the Magic got an answer right back from Nikola Vucevic.

The Lakers got a quick dunk from McGee that made it 112-114 but Orlando again found an answer this time from Fultz. James hit a three the other way to bring Los Angeles back within one. Fultz again answered with 15.4 seconds left in the fourth making it 118-115 with the Magic leading.

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Pete D. Camarillo is currently a credentialed Lakers writer for SportsOutWest and co-host of the weekly Touchdowns and Tangents podcast. Pete enjoys creating content about music, life and West Coast Sports, specifically the NBA and NFL. He has published more than 1,000 articles across various publications including ClutchPoints, FullPressCoverage, TheSportsDaily, Fansided and Inquistr. Pete is also currently a full-time media relations professional for Business Wire and he is active in ONA, SPJ, NABJ and AAJA organizations in Los Angeles. The 2015 CSUN Journalism grad volunteers on his Journalism Alumni Association Board of Directors now. His background includes community relations with the L.A. Clippers during the 2014-15 season. studying sports management, football coaching and earning a fellowship for his entrepreneurship ventures. Follow him on Twitter @petecertified.
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