Austin Reaves scored a career-high 35 points, D’Angelo Russell added 18 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers hung on for a 111-105 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night.
Anthony Davis had 15 points and 11 rebounds on another rough shooting night. But Reaves carried the Lakers to victory with 13 points in the fourth quarter, including 10 in the final 1:33. The undrafted second-year pro has earned a vital role on Los Angeles’ roster, and Reaves factored in almost every big play down the stretch as the Lakers snapped a two-game skid.
The Lakers entered this game off back-to-back losses to Houston and Dallas, imperilling their tenuous position in the playoff race. This win put Los Angeles (35-37) in ninth in the Western Conference, tied with Minnesota.
Rookie Paolo Banchero scored 21 points for Orlando but got an unwise technical foul with 25.3 seconds to play after repeatedly arguing with officials during the night.
Franz Wagner also scored 21 points in the Magic’s sixth loss in eight games to wrap up a four-game road swing. Wendell Carter Jr. had 16 points and 11 rebounds, but Orlando couldn’t repeat the dominance of its 39-point fourth quarter in a victory over the Clippers one day earlier in the same arena.
Cole Anthony hit a tying 3-pointer with 2:37 to play for the Magic, who had trailed throughout the second half. Banchero fouled Reaves on a 3-point attempt a minute later, and Reaves hit two free throws before Wagner tied it again.
But Reaves hit a mid-range jumper with 57 seconds left and then grabbed the long rebound of Wagner’s missed 3 before making two more free throws. Banchero missed a layup and got the technical foul that helped the Lakers to seal it.
The Lakers improved to 6-5 during the latest injury absence of LeBron James, who has been out for three weeks with a sore right foot. Coach Darvin Ham reiterated before the game that Los Angeles expects James to return before the regular season ends in three weeks.
The NBA’s career scoring leader is expected to be reevaluated within the next week.
Markelle Fultz had 12 points and 10 assists one night after dropping a career-high 28 points on the Clippers.
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