Five takeaways from the Lakers’ loss to the Orlando Magic:
1. As the final seconds ticked away to end a game in which the Lakers’ defense was a hapless mess, Lance Stephenson waltzed in for a layup with 2.1 seconds left to make the final score 130-117 in favor of the Orlando Magic.
The Magic players simply shrugged and the Lakers just trudged off the court, having seen their four-game winning streak snapped.
When asked about Stephenson scoring when the outcome clearly had been decided, Lakers coach Luke Walton said he had no problem with how Stephenson handled himself.
The 24-second clock was going to expire when Stephenson decided to score rather than turn the ball over.
“I want that,” Walton said. “I tell [them] all the time. If it is between taking a turnover and shooting the ball, we want to shoot it. We don’t want to add turnovers. Play the game out. It’s not disrespectful. We don’t want to turn the ball over.”
Stephenson had been on the court in the fourth quarter with the group that played with energy and effort, the group that trimmed the Lakers’ deficit from 21 points to 10 late in the game.
He finished with 19 points on six-for-nine shooting, six rebounds and three assists.
2. Kyle Kuzma began the game missing his first four shots in the first quarter.
His night didn’t get much better.
Kuzma missed seven of his 10 total shots, including three of his four three-pointers. He finished with eight points.
He also had five turnovers.
3. Using the 6-9 Brandon Ingram as the backup point guard because Rajon Rondo is out four to five weeks recovering from a broken right hand was not an issue at all for the Lakers.
In 33 minutes, 39 seconds of play, Ingram had 17 points and zero turnovers.
4. It was pretty astounding how the Lakers’ defense turned so bad over the final three quarters.
They allowed the Magic to score 37 points in the second on 57.7% shooting, 38 points in the third on 55.2% shooting and 30 points on 57.1% shooting in the fourth.
5. Michael Beasley had not played for nine consecutive games.
He had left the team for personal reasons during that time and he didn’t play the other times because Walton chose to go in a different direction.
But when Beasley was called upon in the fourth quarter, he responded with seven points on three-for-six shooting, one rebound and one steal.
With Rondo out, Beasley may be able to carve out some time.