Magic topple Lakers again

Nikola Vucevic (9) of the Orlando Magic drives to the basket during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 25, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. Adam Pantozzi, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

Nikola Vucevic scored 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds Sunday as the visiting Orlando Magic upended the Los Angeles Lakers for the second time in eight days, earning a 108-104 victory.

The Lakers tied the game at 104 with 2:24 remaining on a pair of free throws by LeBron James, but Los Angeles missed four 3-point attempts down the stretch.

Terrence Ross made a cutting layup with 34 seconds remaining to give the Magic a 106-104 lead, and Aaron Gordon sealed the victory on a dunk with 10 seconds remaining.

Gordon finished with 17 points, while Ross had 16 as Orlando ended a two-game slide. The Magic now have four victories in their past six games.

James scored 24 points for the Lakers, who have seven victories in their last nine games, but both of those defeats came to the Magic.

After losing 130-117 at Orlando, the Lakers made a commitment to defense, holding their next three opponents to an average of 95 points per game. That defensive focus was evident early in the Sunday game as the Lakers held Orlando to 19 points in the first quarter.

The Magic, though, turned things around, starting with a 12-2 run with just under three minutes to play in the first half. Orlando held its their first lead of the game at 51-49 with less than a minute to play in the second quarter before a James 3-pointer put the Lakers up 52-51 at the half.

The Magic’s surge continued in the third quarter as they opened on a 15-7 run, forcing the Lakers into eight consecutive missed shots during the stretch. Orlando held an 86-71 lead after three quarters, having limited the Lakers to 19 points in the period.

Vucevic’s 31-point performance came after he scored a season-high 36 points the first time the teams met. Two of his three games with at least 30 points this season have come against the Lakers.

D.J. Augustin scored 12 points and had nine assists for the Magic, while Jonathon Simmons added 10 points.

Kyle Kuzma scored 21 points for the Lakers, while Brandon Ingram added 17. Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball scored nine points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

 

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