NBA

Lakers 'figuring it out' after narrow win over Magic

By Sports Desk October 31, 2023

LeBron James and D'Angelo Russell feel the Los Angeles Lakers are "figuring it out" after they battled to a win over the Orlando Magic.

The Lakers improved to 2-2 with a 106-103 home win over the Magic on Monday, a night after they had suffered a gruelling overtime defeat on the road against the Sacramento Kings.

Coach Darvin Ham had considered resting James for the second half of their back-to-back, but he played for another 33 minutes despite ankle soreness, contributing 19 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.

Anthony Davis impressed again with 26 points and 19 rebounds, while Russell scored 12 of his 28 points in the final 12 minutes to see off a determined Magic (1-2) team.

"What you guys see is a team figuring it out," Russell, who also had eight assists, said after the game, per ESPN. 

"This isn’t the product that it will be in a month or two from now. 

"Every game matters. Every clutch situation matters. Every practice matters. So we are figuring it out."

LeBron was similarly optimistic after the Lakers moved to 2-0 at home, with a big game against city rivals the Clippers – who are bringing in James Harden – up next.

"We’re going to continue to get better," said the 38-year-old. "I think we’re still a little trying to figure it out, which is OK. 

"We’re four games in. We’re going to get a lot better throughout the season, but so far we like some of the things we see."

Davis was impressed to see the Lakers pull out the win even with tired legs after their loss to the Kings.

"It just shows a resiliency that we have as a team, but also knowing that if we get in those situations, we know what to do," Davis said. 

"Guys are not rushing shots or making bad plays. Just doing what we need to do for our teammates."

Gary Harris Jr. scored 17 points and hit all five of his 3-point attempts for the Magic, who will have the chance to gain revenge when these two teams play each other again in Orlando on Saturday.

Elsewhere in the NBA, Kings guard De'Aaron Fox – who impressed with 37 points against the Lakers – has been ruled out of Wednesday night's game at the Golden State Warriors with an ankle sprain.

And Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo was forced to miss his team’s 122-114 defeat at the Milwaukee Bucks due to a bruised hip.

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