Julius Randle holds the ball against the Orlando Magic on Jan. 31, 2018.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Defense, 3-Pointers Down Lakers in Orlando

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Luke Walton was far from pleased with his team’s defensive performance, calling it “as bad as it’s been all season.”

Indeed, the Lakers allowed the NBA’s last-place team to play like All-Stars, falling in Orlando, 127-105.

“We weren’t committed to guarding anyone tonight,” Walton said.

Normally a strong defensive team (ranked 11th in the league), the Lakers showed little of their trademark effort against an Orlando squad missing two of its best scorers: Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic.

The Lakers (19-31) trailed by seven at the half, but were victims to an offensive avalanche in the following period.

Orlando (15-35) piled up a season-high 43 points in the third quarter. While the Lakers didn’t provide much resistance, the Magic found some blistering shooting, with a franchise-record nine 3-pointers in one frame.

That fire from beyond the arc continued throughout the game, as Orlando hit 18-of-32 on 3’s, while the Lakers struggled to make just 4-of-20.

Evan Fournier led the way with five triples on his way to 19 points. Marreese Speights also turned back the clock against the Lakers with 21 points.

L.A. — which had won eight of its previous 10 — trailed by as many as 29 points, leaving Walton disappointed in his players’ priorities.

“Individual needs were more important than the needs of the team,” Walton said. “That’s no way to try to win a game in the NBA.”

Notes
Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 20 points apiece. … Orlando shot 54.3 percent from the field. … Lonzo Ball (sore left knee) missed his eighth straight game. … An audience of 18,553 was in attendance at Amway Center.

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