D’Angelo Russell scored 12 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, LeBron James added nine of his 19 in the final period, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied for a 106-103 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.
Anthony Davis had 26 points and 19 rebounds for the Lakers, who handed Orlando its first loss of the season by finishing on a 12-5 run in the final four minutes.
“What you guys see is a team figuring it out,” Russell said. “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’re figuring it out.”
Both teams missed two shots apiece before Suggs’ shot in the lane was smothered by Davis and rebounded by Christian Wood with 13 seconds to play. After Russell hit two free throws, Franz Wagner and Suggs missed 3-point attempts in the final seconds, with James getting credit for a block on Wagner’s shot. The Lakers got a much-needed big game from Russell, the returning point guard who can carry some of the scoring load when James and Davis are weary. Russell added eight assists while hitting 10 of his 14 shots, including three 3-pointers.
Russell, James and Davis combined to score the Lakers’ final 30 points over the last 13 1/2 minutes.
“We’re going to continue to get better,” James said. “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.”
“They force you to play and compete each and every possession on both sides of the ball,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said of the Magic. “They never stop coming. You can see the growth in that team, albeit they’re very young. They make you play, and they put a lot of pressure on you.”
The Lakers considered resting James with his left ankle tendonitis in the second game of their back-to-back set as part of their ongoing efforts to limit the minutes of the 38-year-old leading scorer in NBA history. James decided he would play anyway after going through his pregame workout.