NBA

LeBron demands Lakers improvement after Banchero and Wagner inspire Magic

By Sports Desk November 05, 2023

LeBron James urged the Los Angeles Lakers to improve as his injury-hit side were blasted away by the Orlando Magic, who were inspired by Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero.

The Lakers' seven-game winning streak against the Magic came to an abrupt end as Los Angeles were outclassed in a 120-101 road defeat on Saturday.

Wagner led the Orlando charge with 26 points, one more than the impressive Banchero, while rookie Anthony Black scored 10 on his first Magic start.

Hosts Orlando were without injured guards Markelle Fultz (knee) and Gary Harris (groin), yet it was Los Angeles' James who bemoaned fitness issues hampering his team.

"That's definitely been our trend – offensive rebounds and points off turnovers," said James, who finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

"We'll do a good job of getting a stop and then an offensive rebound allows them to score.

"It definitely helps when you have bigger bodies. We have three of our bigger bodies out right now with injuries.

"It would help, but that's definitely one of the ways we have to look at to get better."

Anthony Davis was a rare bright spark, managing 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks for the Lakers, who were without five injured players for the road game.

Los Angeles played without Rui Hachimura (concussion protocol), Taurean Prince (knee), Gabe Vincent (knee), Jalen Hood-Schifino (knee) and Jarred Vanderbilt (knee).

However, injuries were no excuse for Los Angeles coach Darvin Ham.

"They're down bodies, we're down bodies and so the game basically comes down to mental approach," added Ham. "Their energy, their effort, they outworked us."

Just five days after a 106-103 reverse in Los Angeles, Banchero suggested the victory shows his Magic side can compete with any side in NBA.

"We don't look at any other team and think we can't match up," said last season's NBA Rookie of the Year Banchero, who went on to laud the performance of Black.

"Plus-32 for my dawg right here. Plus-32 is nuts. He just stepped up right away."

Magic coach Jamahl Mosley echoed Banchero's sentiment on Black, adding: "He wasn't afraid. He embraces moments, and he's willing to make the easy play, the easy pass and the right decision."

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