Magic’s late rally not enough to overcome LeBron James, Lakers

LeBron James had 25 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic 96-87 on Wednesday night.

Anthony Davis had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won 13 of 14. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 15 points for Los Angeles.

Jonathan Isaac led Orlando with 19 points. Evan Fournier had 18 and Aaron Gordon finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Orlando, which trailed by 24 midway through the second period, caught the Lakes at 71-71 early in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Michael Carter-Williams.

The momentum didn’t last long. James assisted on the Lakers next three baskets, including 3-pointers by Alex Caruso and Jared Dudley, then bulled his way past Isaac for a layup to finish off a 10-0 run and give Los Angeles an 81-71 lead.

When James went to the bench for a short rest, Isaac suddenly got hot, scoring 10 of Orlando’s next 12 points to pull the Magic within 88-83.

James returned and Caldwell-Pope promptly hit a corner 3 and James followed with a long 3-pointer, his only one of the game, that gave the Lakers a 94-83 lead. Los Angeles successfully nursed that to the finish line.

The Magic hit three straight 3-pointers, two by Fournier, to start the second half and eventually cut the deficit to 57-55 on a dunk by Khem Birch with 7:27 left in the third period. Los Angeles never gave up the lead, but had trouble getting into any flow against an aggressive Orlando defense.

The Lakers weren’t crisp offensively at the start of the game, but didn’t have to be. Los Angeles limited Orlando to a season-low first quarter shooting of 19% (4 of 21) and turned that into a 26-9 lead. Los Angles pushed the advantage to 42-18 in the middle of the second period before Orlando finally got on track.

The Magic used an 18-2 run to get the deficit down to 45-36 with 1:30 left in the half. However, Caldwell-Pope hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Los Angeles went to halftime with a 51-38 lead.