James helps Lakers stop 4-game slide with win over Magic
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — LeBron James scored 28 points, Russell Westbrook had a triple-double and the Los Angeles Lakers stopped a four-game slide, beating the Orlando Magic 129-110 on Tuesday night.
James also had seven rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes. The four-time NBA MVP had scored at least 30 points in each of his last seven games.
“It was a good win for us,” James said. “They’re playing extremely well. They won eight of their last nine and they beat Boston twice.”
Thomas Bryant added 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who shot 54.4% from the field. Westbrook finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in a reserve role.
“I’m a hooper,” Westbrook said. “I can do anything, anytime, anywhere. I’ll continue to do whatever is asked of me until further notice.”
It was Westbrook’s fourth triple-double off the bench and No. 197 overall.
“An NBA lineup has to have balance,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “It’s not so much: Can he start? Or are his starting days over? It’s not about that. It’s about him being able to bring a counter punch, a new extra wave off the bench. … I know it’s been hard at times, but kudos to him for doing everything that was asked of him in that role.”
Markelle Fultz led Orlando with 16 points. Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. each had 15, but the Magic played from behind almost all night.
“I feel like we weren’t playing basketball at the end of the day, we were just out there,” Fultz said. “I don’t know exactly what it was, but we didn’t really have a sense of our pop, our energy or our togetherness, and that’s something we pride ourselves on.”
Magic rookie Paolo Banchero finished with four points and five fouls while spending most of his 22 minutes guarding James.
Lonnie Walker IV scored eight points during a 10-1 run late in the first half that lifted the Lakers to a 16-point lead. After missing their first five shots, the Lakers shot 24 for 40 (60%) for the remainder of the first half and led 65-55 at the break.
After Banchero and Mo Wagner got into foul trouble early in the fourth quarter, James scored 10 points — all inside — to help Los Angeles maintain its double-digit lead.
“It was a huge stretch, not having Paolo on the floor” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “You have to give the Lakers a ton of credit. They came out and they hit us early. They put the pressure on, they attacked in transition. Credit to them, but we have to be better next game.”
Lakers: Averaging an NBA-low 10.15 3-pointers per game coming in, the Lakers made nine in the first half and 17 in the game. … F Anthony Davis missed a sixth game with a right foot stress injury. He is expected to miss at least three more weeks. … F Juan Toscano-Anderson missed a 10th game with a right ankle sprain, but Ham said he is “extremely close” to being activated.
Magic: The crowd of 19,482 was the largest ever for a Magic home game. … G Jalen Suggs missed a 16th straight game with a sprained right ankle. … The Magic and Lakers have split their last 28 meetings.
BACK-TO-BACK FOR JAMES?
James has played both games in only one of the Lakers’ three back-to-backs so far this season. The fourth will conclude Wednesday night in Miami.
“I’ll know tomorrow when I get up,” James said of his availability.
Lakers: Play at Miami on Wednesday night.
Magic: Play at Detroit on Wednesday night.
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