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  • Benjamin Gerstel

Vintage Melo strikes in a victory over the Magic, 116-105

Orlando had a solid opening half, with a vicious opening statement from Mo Bamba. He opened up the game with an emphatic dunk off of an offensive rebound, as well as a three-pointer. Wendell Carter, and Jalen Suggs were able to get to the rim applying pressure early on L.A. A crafty Gary Harris and-one, delivered high off the glass, gave Orlando a five-point halftime lead. They peaked with a 35-point second quarter, but failed to keep their momentum in the second half.

Per usual, King James put on a monstrous performance, dominating a team with the fifth worst net rating in the entire league. Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter are good, but they’re not going to stop LeBron James, who is on pace for his best scoring season in twelve seasons. He nonchalantly played center, and delivered 29-7-5, in “Showtime fashion.” With flashy passes, like a slingshot-esque one to Melo, or stepback threes and reverse dunks, he had an incredibly entertaining performance.

Carmelo Anthony also delivered a vintage performance of himself. In just 17 minutes, Melo not only scored 23 points, but he shot an elite 4-5 from downtown. While Orlando shot a measly 27.5 from downtown tonight, Melo was a huge reason L.A. shot 15% better in that category. Without his performance, it’s unlikely the Lakers would have won tonight.

Russell Westbrook, Stanley Johnson, and Malik Monk also lent a helping hand. Westbrook had 18, Johnson shot 3-4 from three off the bench, and Monk had 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 highlight-worthy assists, including an in-between-the-legs pass to Melo for a transition three. Playing small-ball with LeBron at the helm allowed the Lakers to play a much more aggressive and athletic style of basketball tonight and it gave Orlando a ton of problems. They were also able to keep up on defense, by being able to switch, without having to worry about losing any steps athletically.

Los Angeles won this game handedly, 116-105. Melo, after the win, described how they were able to pull the win out: “we completely locked in in the second half… we completely cut their water off and stuck to our schemes.” The Lakers head into Miami Sunday, for their next matchup. That same day, Orlando has a tough game against Chicago.

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