Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs. Magic – Game 47

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The Los Angeles Lakers faced the Orlando Magic on Sunday night. Orlando is a team that cleaned house at the trade deadline, giving the Lakers a prime opportunity to come away with their second straight win. While it wasn’t pretty, the Lakers ultimately hung on for a 96-93 victory at Staples Center.

 

Lakers vs Magic
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

The Lakers started out cold from the field, missing their first four attempts that allowed the Magic to take the night’s first lead. Los Angeles eventually warmed up from the field, with Kyle Kuzma knocking down a pair of threes to get the team going offensively.

Orlando was able to keep momentum on their side early as they knocked down jumpers while defensively prevented the Lakers from scoring inside. However, Montrezl Harrell provided an offensive lift for the Lakers off the bench in the final minutes and gave them a slight 22-21 advantage after one.

Los Angeles gave themselves some breathing room by opening up the second with a 12-1 run, looking to push the pace before Orlando’s defense could get set. The Lakers defense also picked up considerably, stifling any actions the Magic tried and forcing them into low-percentage looks.

 

Even when Orlando did have space to operate, they were unable to capitalize which let Los Angeles control the flow of the game and hold onto all the momentum. Despite the Magic’s struggles scoring the basketball, they managed to cobble a run at the end of the second and the Lakers walked into the half only up 44-39 in what was one of the lowest scoring halves of the season.

 

Lakers vs Magic
Photo Credit: San Diego Union-Tribune

Much like the first quarter, the Lakers started cold from the floor as they failed to get anything to go down before a Dennis Schroder layup. Orlando managed to tie up the game, but Los Angeles battled back and retook control of the game.

Although the Purple and Gold held onto their advantage, the Magic continued fighting and keeping themselves within striking distance. Otto Porter Jr. drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the two teams found themselves tied at 69.

The Lakers and Magic toggled with the lead atop the fourth, but the latter began to knock down shots and took a five-point lead in the process. Things could have gotten worse as Harrell turned his ankle, but he managed to stay in the game.

Los Angeles retook the lead after a 12-3 run, keyed by some well-timed shotmaking. The Magic managed to make it a one-possession game in the final minute, but Porter missed the game-tying three at the buzzer, and the Lakers walked away with the win.

 

Andre Dummond is officially a Laker.

 

Lakers vs Magic
Photo Credit: Excel Management

Andre Drummond, who the Cleveland Cavaliers bought out shortly after the NBA trade deadline, has now cleared waivers and officially become a free agent. However, his free agency did not last long, as it has been announced that the Los Angeles Lakers will sign him to a veteran minimum contract for the remainder of the season.

Things had been heading in this direction for quite some time. Even before Drummond was bought out, there was clear and significant interest from the Lakers’ side. It was reported that players had spent time recruiting Drummond to L.A., and it appears those efforts have paid off. The Lakers main competition for Drummond was the Boston Celtics.

Drummond will now likely slide into the starting lineup, replacing Marc Gasol, who will come off the bench and likely play in spot minutes alongside Alex Caruso, Kuzma, Harrell, and Talen Horton-Tucker.

Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka talked to the media about what Drummond will bring to the team:

 

Andre Drummond gives us powerful, anchor-point skills on both ends of the court. We feel extremely fortunate to add a player of his caliber and magnitude to our core group at this stage of our journey to defend the NBA title.

 

Drummond definitely solves one of the Lakers’ major needs. After being the best rim protecting team in the NBA in 2020, their paint protection has slipped up without a true rebounder and shot-blocker in the middle. Drummond is one of the best rebounders of the modern era and should quickly help clean things up in the paint.

In nine NBA seasons, Drummond has career averages of 14.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per game on 53.8% from the field. This season with the Cavaliers saw a bit of a dropoff in his efficiency, but he was still scoring and rebounding at a significant clip.

While there are legitimate concerns about Drummond as a player, his fit on the Lakers is undeniable. He can especially make an impact with the help of Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, who has a history of transforming centers into their best possible self. His biggest examples are Dwight Howard in 2020 with the Lakers and Roy Hibbert during his time with the Indiana Pacers.

With Drummond’s signing, the Lakers now have 14 roster spots filled so that they can sign one more player to a veteran minimum deal. Now that L.A. has got the most coveted big man on the market, it’s likely they will now turn their attention to a 3-and-D wing defender, possibly Avery Bradley.

 

The Lakers are back at Staples Center Wednesday night to take on the Milwaukee Bucks. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm. You can watch the game on ESPN or Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe Arrigo on Twitter @JoeArrigo

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