Lakers End Road Trip in Wire-to-Wire Loss to Magic

Rey Moralde —  December 23, 2016 — 15 Comments

The nightmarish road trip ended for the Lakers against the Magic in Orlando. And the result was pretty much the same as most of their games as Orlando thumped the Lakers, 109-90.

The Lakers couldn’t get anything going at the start as they missed their first 10 shots. Orlando got off to a 10-0 start and the team from L.A. got rejected as many times in the first quarter as I did at a club on a regular Saturday night. The Magic blocked the Lakers nine times and were up by 25 at one point.

L.A. made a couple of runs in the second half. D’Angelo Russell scored 12 points in the third and helped cut the deficit to 8. But the Magic brought the lead back to 20 as the Lakers defense continued to have holes. Jordan Clarkson then caught fire and chopped the deficit to 6 but Orlando countered with a 13-0 run to put away the game.

It felt like they’ve taken a couple of steps back since their game against Cleveland. They have trouble playing all four quarters. If they don’t blow big leads (like they did against Miami and Charlotte), they get off to slow starts. Inexperienced teams tend to do that.

But what’s really disappointing is that the Cleveland game seemed like an aberration compared to the rest of the trip. I’m not saying they’re selfish and going after their numbers but the ball movement is no longer there. In that 10-10 start, they would fly around on defense even if they overplay and we didn’t see that for much of the trip. We saw the Magic players blow by them pretty easily. And so many shooters got open. Even though Elfrid Payton isn’t known as a shooter, he got plenty of open looks on his way to 25 points. NBA players will likely make the open shots. Serge Ibaka handled the Lakers on both ends with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks.

On the other side, Clarkson led the Lakers with 18 points while Russell scored 15 (though he didn’t score after his hot third). The Lakers turned the ball over 16 times as some of the passes looked lazy or careless. They also only shot 36 percent while the Magic shot over 50 percent. (Julius Randle didn’t play because of the birth of his child. Congrats to him and his fiancée, Kendra, by the way.)

So the Lakers still only have won one game this month (1-12 in December). What the team has to do is get back to the basics. We all understand that the injuries are part of the game. But some teams have the mentality of “next man up”; San Antonio, Memphis, and Portland have played well like that in the past few years. They don’t change their system and they thrived. The team we’re seeing now is completely different from the one that started 10-10. They gotta put forth the effort on defense and fly around, even if it means overplaying them. And they have to move the ball around more instead of trying to do it solo. Players have to play for each other instead of for themselves.

They have a big test against the Clippers on Christmas Day. We’re not expecting them to win but it would be great if they can get back to what made them good, promising, and exciting in the first place. Play within the system and they’ll be back to okay. It’s frustrating but everyone that’s invested in this team has to be patient.

Happy Holidays, everyone. Remember that this is still a game so let’s all stay happy.


Rey Moralde

Posts

15 comments
FredP
FredP

The bottom line is that core players of this team are young and still learning how to play basketball.  For example, I disagree with the idea that the players need to "fly around" and "overplay" on defense.  They are getting killed by teams when they do that.  All it takes is one pass to destroy that intensity.  What is needed is players focusing on their responsibility and their man.  Russell can be painful to watch on defense due to poor footwork and ADHD like behavior.  Instead of staying close enough to close out his man when he gets the ball, he routinely gives his man space to catch passes and shoot.  However, this is remedial through repetitions and practice.  Clearly he never needed to play defense on his AAU and college teams.  Now he is learning to play individual and team defense and it is a struggle.  Similar issues are true for the other young players and that leads to the flat out inability to stop teams defensively.  In many ways, this is a repeat of last season and it is frustrating.  The difference is that Luke seems to be open to new ideas and has a staff dedicated to helping the young players develop. We have been rewarded to bursts of exciting play and, for the time being, that will have to do.

LKK
LKK

FredP...

I completely agree about Russell's "defense". I guess he is following the scheme the staff is teaching the team; at least I hope so. What I see constantly from him and the other perimeter players is that the second their man passes the ball, they start to ignore their assignment and start to crowd the paint. That leaves them vulnerable to back door plays and gives teams wide open looks. You posted something that is very true: "What is needed is players focusing on their responsibility and their man." I agree completely. There comes a point where players have to make life as difficult as possible for the man they're guarding. Nobody can stop a Kobe or a Kyrie one on one, but when Elfrid Payton is going off on you, your defense sucks. Right now I see a confused team that has lost its belief in itself. Is Russell 100%? Doesn't matter. He and the others are just as bad as last year on defense and to me that speaks to lack of hunger, intensity and a common sense approach. Stay with your man!!

_  Robert  _
_ Robert _

Rey:  Your summaries are very balanced and point out the good and the bad.  Nice job. This is especially on target:  “Players have to play for each other instead of for themselves.”     Perhaps DAR should read your stuff.    And yes – Happy Holidays to All !!!!

Ken:    I am familiar with all of your previous screen names, however I think you should just stick with Ken.    I remember way back in 2011, right after we exiled Lamar, I found this board, and after reading for about 2 minutes I started reading your and rr’s comments and I decided to hang around and start posting    (so now Darius and others know who to blame for my presence).   

Kermit:  Your #5 and others below are a giveaway that you read SSR as well.   So while your overall complaint can apply here at times, this form of “group think” is much more present at other boards.   Here you can pretty much say what you want as long as you can put up with the optimists insisting that their view is more “intellectual” than yours, and those who criticize the FO just lack “context”, “patience”, and “foresight”.   What is amazing is that this debate has been going on for 5 years and the optimists “still” think they have been correct all along.   I feel that we are in a Laker bear market and I turned bearish 5 years ago.    Good thing it is not the stock market else some would have lost it all already.   And yes – the loyal fan thing is ridiculous.   During the 5 years I know I have been to more games in more cities than many of the posters here, and I have watched more games on cable than most as well.   But if they think that saying “patience” every now and then makes them a better fan – then so be it.

LordMo:   Stephen A is annoying to some – but he has been spot on with regard to the Lakers for years.   The causes some to discredit him as they do any other journalist who anything short of Roger Daltrey signing   “The Kids Are Alright”.

Everyone have a great holiday.

KermitWashingtonKilla
KermitWashingtonKilla

@_Robert_ thank you for this post man. I've never been a huge " "board commentator" myself but have always been a laker fan (Sparks and USC too). True story, Michael Cooper is my god father and was my dads college roommate at UNM and life long best friend. I bleed forum blue and gold from day one. I was lucky enough to live in Los angels 2009-2013 and saw in person that magical run and then the start of the rebuild. Since moving I want to become part of this "online community/board" and I will keep my post constructive and constribute more positivity going forward. I'm one of the real one sorry for the previous troll rants

KevTheBold
KevTheBold

Lol,.. Now if Boogie would only bring some of that good will towards his coach or other nba players,..I might be willing to have him come as close to the Lakers,..as the Clippers,..

LordMo
LordMo

Now if I could just get @Horse to talk to me again. I lost him for the season with my last Steven A Smith reference. Forgive me @Horse...c'mon man "Steven A" will never be referenced again by Ol' LordMo!!!!

And oh yeah @Busboys4me I promise to never get you in trouble with Darius again! Ok, given my track record I better say I'll try. 😉

KenNewport
KenNewport

Warning Warning. If you change your posting name during the season and criticize the team for bad play after a month of complementing them on 20 games of good play you may be called names.

Kind of reminds me of a recent election. .Ha

KermitWashingtonKilla
KermitWashingtonKilla

if you haven't commented positively on every post since 1973 these "real laker fans" consider you the following:

1) zero credibility

2) Fair weather fan

3) arm chair gm

4) born after 2005

5) kobetard

6) dont know your laker history

7) closet laker hater

8) bandwagon laker hater

9) failed to realize every championship team was built through the draft

10) and finally......must have just started watching this season during the losing streak.

7 comments down, 88,546 to go before I'm a "legit fan."

LordMo
LordMo

Lol! All are welcome here @Kermit. They even put up with Ol' LordMo. Our opinions and insights differ but we all care. This board "our board" is expertly run and we tend to keep it "safe & sane" here. Keep posting my fellow Lakers fan I have enjoyed your comments!

KevTheBold
KevTheBold

@KermitWashingtonKilla

If your silly post gives you comfort, then it speaks more about you than anyone here.

If you don't want to get called out on your rhetoric, then you are in the wrong place, because there are many laker fans here who were much older than 3 years old during the 88 finals. For example I was 30, and could comprehend what was going on. 

Remember, if all you are going to do is come in here and complain, then please apply the why, the who, the when and the what,..use some foresight, and google is your friend.

KevTheBold
KevTheBold

@KenNewport

If you do so without considering causes,.. you are calling for it.

Just saying,..

KermitWashingtonKilla
KermitWashingtonKilla

@KevTheBold every board needs a comment police and I'm glad you're here to patrol the mean streets of forum blue and gold. We started off on the wrong foot and at the end of the day we share that same passion for Laker basketball. Get used to seeing my name on the board and I'll make sure to keep my posts more constructive.

KevTheBold
KevTheBold

@KermitWashingtonKilla 

Kermit, I'm no cop,..but you will find that there is always a bit of conflict between the optimist and the pessimists.

We all suffer equally when our Lakers lose, and express ourselves differently.

Of course some consider themselves 'realists' yet it remains a point of contention who is what.

I appreciate your post and welcome you.