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Lakers finish road trip 1-6 with 109-90 loss to the Magic

Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell drives past Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) and guard D.J. Augustin during the first half Friday night.
(Willie J. Allen Jr. / Associated Press)

There was perhaps a lesson for the Lakers in what they saw on Friday night in their 109-90 loss to the Orlando Magic.

Twice, the Lakers cut a Magic double-digit lead to manageable single digits. In the third quarter, the Lakers got as close as seven points. In the fourth quarter the Lakers got as close as six. But each time, the Lakers made a run, the Magic fought back to sustain their lead.

The Magic did what the shorthanded and weary Lakers could not in their prior two games. Against the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat, Los Angeles had 19-point leads in the first half of each game, but ultimately lost.

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“I told the guys there’s gonna be games like this in the NBA for everyone,” Lakers Coach Luke Walton said. “… Every team is gonna have games where they don’t really have it, which is why it’s more important to win the games where we do have it. Where we’re rolling like the Charlotte game or the Miami game. We chalk this one up to what it is, get off this road trip and try to get off this new losing streak.”

The loss dropped the Lakers to 11-22, and 1-6 on their two-week road trip. They are 1-12 in December. The win improved the Magic’s record to 14-18.

Magic guard Elfrid Payton finished with 25 points, one point shy of a career high, and nine assists. Payton did so a night after Heat forward Justise Winslow had a career high in points against the Lakers.

Just like the Miami Heat the night before, the Magic shot better than 50%. They also outscored the Lakers in the paint, on second-chance points and on fast-break points.

Orlando’s largest lead of the game was 25 and they dominated from start to finish. They opened the game 10-0, holding the shorthanded Lakers scoreless until a Nick Young three-pointer more than five minutes into the game.

“They’re one of the biggest teams in the NBA, so we were kind of fighting an uphill battle all game,” Walton said. “The lineups that we could get out there with the injuries we have and just I think being at the end of our road trip, the tanks were nearly empty.”

The Lakers were shorthanded once again, especially when it game to size. On Friday night they lacked power forward Julius Randle, who was home in Los Angeles for the birth of his son. They also lacked forward Larry Nance Jr. (left knee injury) and center Tarik Black (sprained right ankle).

“The injuries killed us,” Lakers forward Metta World Peace said. “We’re young but we were good enough to win when everybody was healthy. Then we got D-Lo [D’Angelo Russell] hurt, Nance, Black, Jose. Julius was out I think one game. It was an unfortunate trip. Such bad timing for us. We would have seized on these opportunities if we were at full strength.”

The Lakers haven’t been fully healthy for any game in December, having started the month without their starting backcourt.

After so many days on the road, the Lakers schedule won’t get easier in Los Angeles. They’ll face the Clippers (22-8) on Christmas, then the Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors in the following week. They hope, though, that being home helps.

“We’ve been on the road for about two weeks,” Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson said. “To be able to get home, play at home for a couple games, get back into a rhythm. Hopefully get our guys back, Julius will be back, so we’ll be all right.”

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli


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