The Magic brought energy and hustle from the opening tip as they defeated Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, 92-80. The Lakers made the first basket of the game and then never led again at any point on the night.
The Magic led by as much as 23 points in the 2nd quarter and the Lakers would never get the lead closer than 8. With the lead sitting at 8 with 6:03 remaining in the 4th quarter, Kobe Bryant picked up a technical foul that erased any comeback attempt the Lakers had in them. Conversion of the technical free throw, a Jason Richardson dunk and a Ryan Anderson 3-pointer would crush the Lakers comeback hopes for good.
Despite overall poor shooting on the night for the Magic, they seemed to always hit a big 3-pointer anytime the Lakers tried to make a run.
The popular story pregame was the matchup between arguably the NBA’s two best centers and potential trade pieces. Postgame the story switched to Dwight Howard’s domination of Andrew Bynum. Dwight posted his 5th 20/20 game of the season finishing with 21 points and 23 rebounds. Bynum, who was in foul trouble the entire night, finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds in only 26 minutes.
The Lakers, coming off a blowout last night in Miami, came out flat from the start. All Laker players that don’t owe $75M in alimony, combined to shoot just 2-17 in the first quarter. Kobe finished the game with 30 points and 8 assists, but got little help from anyone else on the team. Only 3 other players scored in double figures for the Lakers and Pau Gasol’s 13 points led the bunch. Kobe, just ignore those 2006 flashbacks.
While the Lakers struggled shooting, the Magic defensive effort can’t be ignored. Stan Van Gundy’s game plan was executed to near perfection. He set out to make sure that his team played Bryant, Gasol or Bynum 1-on-1 as little as possible. He ran double teams at them immediately and forced Fisher, Barnes and crew to beat them. Every clanked Derek Fisher jumper made Stan look more and more like a magician.
More news and notes from tonight after the jump:
- Hedo Turkoglu sat out again tonight with back spasms. Jason Richardson who had missed the previous 3 games, started the game and his 7 point first quarter was pivotal to the Magic’s early success. J-Rich said post game that he had wanted to play in the previous game but the Magic training staff decided he needed more rest. Overall, it was definitely the smart decision with J-Rich reporting that he felt great afterwards.
- Jameer Nelson’s had a strong game dropping 17 points and 9 assists for the evening. He was aggressive all night and his penetration and kickouts led to open 3′s for his teammates. Stan Van Gundy commented on Jameer’s night after the game, “I thought he was a little more aggressive, he made better plays and he made three three’s. When you shoot the ball well, everybody will say you’re playing well. It’s a big part of the game.”
- With Jameer playing well, Stan went back to running everything through Jameer’s high pick and rolls during the 4th quarter.
- The offensive rebounding also was huge for Orlando as they pulled in 15 for the night including 5 from Glen Davis. They managed just 10 second chance points, but when you give up extra possessions it can tend to demoralize your defensive effort.
- Here is Lakers coach Mike Brown on Orlando’s offensive rebounding: “I thought Big Baby came in and impacted the game on the offensive glass just with his size and strength and hustle. He kind of out muscled us at times on the weak side glass.”
With the win the Magic improved to 11-4 on the season. They get the weekend off before playing against the struggling Celtics in Boston on Monday night.
Topics: Andrew Bynum, Chris Duhon, Derek Fisher, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Josh McRoberts, Kobe Bryant, Larry Hughes, Los Angeles Lakers, McBob, Mike Brown, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Pau Gasol, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Von Wafer