Magic Unable to Get Stops During Much of Tuesday’s Loss to Lakers

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Markelle Fultz led six Magic players in double figures with 16 points, Wendell Carter Jr., despite remaining on a minutes restriction, posted 15 points, and Franz Wagner also scored 15, but Orlando, which had won eight of its last nine, was not nearly as stout defensively as it had been the last couple weeks in Tuesday’s 129-110 defeat to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers at Amway Center. 

Key Note

Paolo Banchero had his worst performance of his NBA career thus far. The 2022 No. 1 overall draft pick was in foul trouble much of the night and finished with a season-low four points on 1-of-6 overall shooting, including 0-of-2 from 3-point range. It was just the second time this season he scored in single digits. 

Key Stats

Coming into Tuesday’s action, the Lakers were averaging 55.9 points in the paint, second most behind the Memphis Grizzlies’ 58.1. Not a huge surprise then that they accumulated 56 points in the paint against the Magic. They also shot it well from beyond the arc – a weakness of theirs all season. They made 17 triples, seven more than Orlando.  

Interesting fact

Tuesday’s attendance at Amway Center was 19,482, the largest crowd in Magic history. The previous high was 19,458 on April 12, 2017 against the Detroit Pistons. 

Quote of the Day

“I’ve seen some of the stats and stuff. I wouldn’t say I’ve taken too much time to reflect on it. This season has been nonstop. But to be in the same sentence as him (LeBron James) and other great players – it’s a goal of mine (to be great like them). You don’t really know what is going to happen. You don’t expect it to happen, but when you see it, it makes you smile just because you put in a lot of work to get here. He’s been a player who I’ve looked up to, so to be mentioned in the same sentence is an honor for me.” – Banchero on his rookie success so far and how that compares to James early in his career

Injury Report

Jalen Suggs (right ankle soreness), Chuma Okeke (left knee surgery), and Jonathan Isaac (left knee injury recovery) were out for the Magic. Anthony Davis (right foot; stress injury) and Juan Toscano-Anderson (right ankle sprain) were unavailable for the Lakers. 

This Day in History

On Dec. 27, 2019, in what turned out to be a thrilling game, Evan Fournier scored 20 points, Aaron Gordon had 19 and Terrence Ross chipped in with 17, as the Magic edged the Philadelphia 76ers at Amway Center. Joel Embiid, who missed a potential game-winning shot from just past half court, finished with 24 points, as did former Orlando player Tobias Harris. 

Rivals Report

Would it be wise for the Lakers to trade one or both of their two draft picks (2027 and 2029) to give James and Davis (for when he returns) instant help? Or, would doing so just create more of a headache in the future? Considering the Pelicans have the right to swap picks with them this year (via the Davis trade a few years ago), they have nothing to gain falling further and further behind in the standings. But they also must remember that James and Davis are not getting any younger. It’s a tough spot no matter how you slice it.  

Up Next

The Magic headed right to the airport after Tuesday’s game and will fly to Detroit, where they will clash with the Pistons on Wednesday at 7 p.m. This will be the second of four meetings between the two teams this season. The first was won by the Pistons on opening night. Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with 24 points in that contest, while Jaden Ivey scored 19 and Cade Cunningham, now out for the season with a shin injury, had 18. Banchero posted 27 in his regular season debut for Orlando, while Suggs scored 21.