NBA regular season

LeBron, Lakers down Magic, return to even mark

LeBron, Lakers down Magic, return to even mark

WINNING WAYS. Lakers star LeBron James drives to the basket as Magic forward Franz Wagner defends.

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

LeBron James and Russell Westbrook click as the Lakers climb back to an even 23-23 record

LeBron James scored 29 points, Russell Westbrook added 18 points and 11 rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers opened a pivotal six-game road trip with a 116-105 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday night, January 21 (Saturday, January 22, Manila time).

Carmelo Anthony came off the bench to score 19 of his 23 points in the second half, helping the Lakers bring their overall record back to the .500 mark (23-23). 

Anthony made 4-of-5 triples as Los Angeles finished 13-for-30 from beyond the arc.

James, who moved ahead of Paul Pierce into 15th place on the NBA’s total games played list (1,344), shot 12-for-23 from the field to go along with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. He was also a perfect 3-for-3 at the foul line.

Westbrook, who was not in the game during the final minutes of a 111-104 home loss to Indiana on Wednesday, put together a consistent effort against Orlando with a plus-11 rating in 35 minutes. 

Westbrook’s night included 7 assists as well as an 8-for-17 shooting performance.

Los Angeles outscored the Magic 31-16 in the third period for an 85-78 lead as Anthony had 8 points and Stanley Johnson (11 points) hit a pair of three-pointers. The Lakers led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter as Orlando’s home losing streak reached nine in a row.

Malik Monk (10 points) also reached double figures for Los Angeles.

Former Magic star Dwight Howard passed Nate Thurmond into 10th place on the league’s all-time list for total regular-season rebounds. Howard finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds in 13 minutes.

Wendell Carter Jr. was one of six Magic players in double figures with 19 points after he missed seven games with a hamstring injury. Jalen Suggs (career-high 9 assists) scored 13 of his 22 points in the first half, Franz Wagner netted 15 points, Gary Harris had 13 points, and Chuma Okeke and Mo Bamba (8 rebounds) scored 11 points apiece.

Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley and assistant coach Nate Tibbetts both cleared the league’s health and safety protocol and were on the bench for Friday’s game. Orlando lost by double digits to Portland and Philadelphia under acting coach Jesse Mermuys. – 

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