Second Look: Los Angeles Lakers 97, Orlando Magic 84 | Magic Basketball

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Mar 15

Second Look: Los Angeles Lakers 97, Orlando Magic 84

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The [Orlando] Magic couldn’t shake Kobe Bryant. Bryant stayed at The Ritz, the Magic’s team hotel, on Sunday night (he has a permanent residency there to avoid constant travel back to his home). And the Magic couldn’t get away from him Monday night, especially. Kobe shook off a sore ankle and a fractured first-half shooting linescore to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat Orlando 97-84 at Staples Center. Bryant was a game-time decision after re-injuring his left ankle Saturday night, but he played — not that anyone was surprised. The Magic were dialed in defensively for the most of the first half, holding Bryant to 2-of-10 shooting and the Lakers to 35.4 percent. But Bryant, as he often has done in his spectacular career, recovered to hit 5-of-8 shots in a third-quarter spurt in which the Lakers outscored the Magic 14-3 to close the period. L.A., trailing 46-41 at halftime, struck quickly to begin the third and tied it at 48. Forcing turnovers and surrounding [Dwight] Howard, the Lakers showed their championship pedigree. Kobe was far from terrific, but gutted it out to come up with clutch shots. He scored just 16 points, making only 7-of-19 shots.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “When discussing the legitimacy of his team as a true championship contender prior to Monday night’s nationally televised showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic offered up several reasons why the Magic are a powerful and dangerous team … with one caveat. ‘We’re pretty good,’ [Stan] Van Gundy said, ‘when we’re not throwing the ball to the other team.’ Van Gundy was talking, of course, about the Magic’s problems with turnovers. That area of concern reared its ugly head again Monday night when the Lakers picked up the defensive pressure and the Magic collapsed under an avalanche errors and botched possessions. The Magic shot well enough (47.1 percent) and held Kobe Bryant and Company in check for a half, but ultimately the errors piled up and the Lakers poured it on in the second half of an unsightly 97-84 Orlando loss at Staples Center.”
  • Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times: “Each time a substitution took place, the standing ovation sounded louder and louder. The Lakers’ starters in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher and Ron Artest checked in for Lamar Odom, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown, prompting cheers for the reserves ability to maintain a 12-point over Orlando with 6:04 remaining. Three minutes later, Brown checked back in for Bryant and before the two locked hugs and handshakes, the 18,997 at Staples Center stood up and clapped for Bryant’s ability to play through his sprained left ankle. And when Odom stepped in for Bynum’s place moments later, the crowd reserved the loudest roar for the his career-high rebounding effort. Those standing ovations served as the perfect visual for satisfaction over what the Lakers displayed on the court Monday in their 97-84 victory over the Orlando Magic. Whether it was Bryant overcoming a poor first-half shooting performance (two of 10) with a much sharper second half (five of nine), Bynum grabbing a career high 18 rebounds or a strong supporting cast producing in various ways, the Lakers provided all signs of a team ready to maintaining the excellence required for a playoff caliber team.”
  • Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: “After all the nonsense they unveiled last month, after all the silliness with losses in Charlotte and Cleveland, the Lakers took another step toward seriousness. They came back from a successful road trip and then throttled the Orlando Magic on Monday at Staples Center, 97-84, giving their fans further hope that a herky-jerky season was comfortably in the past. Kobe Bryant played despite a sprained ankle he called the worst of his career, Andrew Bynum continued to come of age— against the game’s top center, no less — and the Lakers moved to 10-1 since the All-Star break. […] Forget about avenging an 89-75 loss last month to Orlando in which they made two of 16 from three-point range and an equally appalling seven of 15 from the free-throw line. The Lakers (48-20) are now avenging their entire regular season. It’s tough to argue with their last four weeks, though they didn’t give fans much to cheer in the first half Monday, trailing, 46-41. Then came the return of a defense that has been unfriendly at best in recent weeks. Orlando was limited to 38 second-half points.”
  • Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times: “Let’s have a big Lakerdom welcome for . . . whomever. The Lakers’ center of the future was back in Staples Center, even if you couldn’t be sure which of the two who met Monday night it will be. In a surprise to some Lakers fans and even some Lakers players — at least the ones who wanted him traded for Jason Kidd or Carmelo Anthony — Andrew Bynum held his own, scoring 10 points with 18 rebounds and four blocks to Dwight Howard’s 22-15-two in the Lakers’ 97-84 victory. Howard, of course, is the NBA’s best center . . . and would continue a Lakers tradition of stealing them from Orlando. And Bynum is the NBA’s best center, too! Well, he was briefly after going for 22 and 15 Saturday in Dallas when Channel 9’s John Ireland gave him a field commission — “the best center in the NBA since the All-Star break” — before bumping him down to “best center in the West since the break.”
  • Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles: “Against Dwight Howard, the player most Lakers fans are hoping comes to Los Angeles to man the middle when he becomes a free agent in 2012, Bynum played perhaps the best first quarter of his career (11 rebounds, six points and three blocked shots). Bynum got into foul trouble early in the second quarter, picking up two, and only played a little over three minutes with three fouls in the second quarter. When Bynum was in the game he controlled the paint and set the tempo for the Lakers, finishing with 10 points, tying a career high with 18 rebounds and four blocks in just 28 minutes. Howard finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds and two blocked in 43 minutes. The most telling stat when comparing Bynum and Howard, however, is the turnovers. Howard finished with 9 turnovers compared to none for Bynum. Howard’s turnovers contributed to the 18 turnovers Orlando had as a team which lead to 20 points for the Lakers while Los Angeles took surprisingly good care of the ball, turning it over five times leading to three points for Orlando.”
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