Brook Lopez's free throws in final second lift Lakers over Magic, 108-107

Tania Ganguli, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

LOS ANGELES -- Watching the film of the last time his team faced the bottom-dwelling Orlando Magic made coach Luke Walton angry and frustrated. The Los Angeles Lakers lost by 22 points and at one point trailed by nearly 30 points.

"Probably wasn't a good thing to watch before trying to go to sleep," Walton said.

So, he did something he doesn't always do. He made the players go through it again, too.

For a time, it seemed like there would be a repeat of their first meeting. Ultimately, the Lakers escaped with a 108-107 win over the Orlando Magic despite not making a field goal for the final 2 minutes 18 seconds. Orlando recovered from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter, only two days after the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Lakers after being down 11 in the fourth.

"We don't know how to win yet," Isaiah Thomas said. "It's obvious. We have a young group. We're not executing the way we need to down the stretch. The other team, when you're losing you got nothing to lose. So you're applying pressure offensively and defensively that maybe you didn't do all game. ... I think if we execute, we'll be a lot better."

Center Brook Lopez led the Lakers with 27 points. He also had three assists but no rebounds. Kyle Kuzma scored 20 points for the Lakers, making nine of 16 shots as the Lakers small forward, which is not his usual position. Kuzma was one of two Lakers to notch double doubles. Julius Randle had 12 points and 11 rebounds despite playing only 1:18 in the fourth quarter. Walton said Randle wasn't feeling well.

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The Lakers played without Brandon Ingram, who is out with a groin strain, and Josh Hart, who is recovering from a broken left hand.

The Magic were led by Aaron Gordon, who scored 28 points with 14 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic scored 24 points with 12 rebounds.

The Magic took a 15-point lead in the first quarter, led by Aaron Gordon, who scored 12 points in that period. But the Lakers eventually recovered, but found themselves fighting for the game until its final seconds.

Even a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter wasn't safe.


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