May 27, 2024

D’Angelo Russell was the man of the night for the Lakers when they escaped with a 106-103 win over a young and talented Orlando Magic team.

Russell was the man of the fourth quarter when the Lakers needed offense with the game on the line.

It took all of his game-high 28 points for the Lakers to put away the Magic.

It took all of his 10-for-14 shooting from the field, three for six on three-pointers and five for five on free throws for the Lakers to meet the force they were getting from the Magic on Monday night at the Arena.

“DLo, he stepped up big time for us tonight, big time,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said.

Here are three takeaways from the Lakers’ win over the Magic:

1. Russell took charge for the Lakers in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points by making all three of his field goals, both of his three-pointers and all four of his free throws.

His first three-pointer in the fourth pulled the Lakers to within two points.

His second three-pointer gave the Lakers a one-point lead with one minute and 42 seconds left.

His two free throws with 8.0 seconds left turned out to be the final points of the game.

“I just got shots and made ‘em,” Russell said. “Simple as that. If I make shots, I know what I’m capable of. I know, I trust my craft at all times. Just making shots makes the game easier.”

Russell had been struggling with his offense in the first three games.

He was shooting 36.6% from the field and 23.5% from three-point range to start the season.

But Russell came up big for the Lakers against the Magic.

“Lo, man, he just, his calm presence offensively, he’s constantly thinking about how he can get an advantage,” Ham said about Russell. “Constantly concerned about making sure Bron [LeBron James], AD [Anthony Davis] get their touches and they’re put in the best possible position to succeed. And he’s comfortable playing off the ball as well. So, his ability to catch and shoot, especially as Bron down the stretch is quarterbacking our offense and getting us what we need to get, Lo is great out there.”

2. The Lakers need to improve their rebounding.

They were outrebounded 44-40, and this was with Davis claiming 19 rebounds and Christian Wood getting nine off the bench.

They gave up 12 offensive rebounds and 20 second-chance points.

“I mean, it’s just a matter of continuing to work at it,” Ham said. “That’s it. Continuing to work at it. Continue to highlight these moments. That particular segment of our game in terms of finishing possessions. Trying to close a team out and not give them multiple looks. It’s just something you just have to continue to work at. There’s no magic pill that’s gonna make it go away.”

3. Austin Reaves and Gabe Vincent finally had solid offensive games for the Lakers.

Reaves had 11 points on five-for-12 shooting.

Vincent had nine points on four-for-seven shooting. He made his first three-pointer of the regular season, a 28-footer with 1:19 left in the first quarter. He had missed 11 three-point attempts before that.

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