Magic's road woes worsen with 103-94 loss to the Lakers

With the game already far, far out of reach, Arron Afflalo received an inbounds pass and sprinted down the court to attempt one final shot before time expired Sunday night. He went up for a layup as Kent Bazemore contested the shot, and the ball rattled off the back iron and fell toward the ground.

That one play, though inconsequential, summed up the Orlando Magic’s night and their four-game road trip across the West.

In a word: yuck.

The Magic lost their ninth consecutive game — this time to the injury-depleted, struggling Los Angeles Lakers 103-94 at Staples Center.

“To be losing the games is definitely disappointing,” forward Tobias Harris said. “It’s frustrating.”

For the second consecutive season, the Magic are slogging to the finish line with a slow, ugly fade. The team now holds a 1-23 road record this calendar year.

The Magic allowed Lakers power forward Jordan Hill to score a career-high 28 points and grab 13 rebounds.

To be sure, the Magic were playing on the second night of a back-to-back after a heartbreaking loss Saturday in Salt Lake City. They also were missing veteran guard Jameer Nelson, who sat out his third consecutive game because of a sore left knee.

But the Lakers have problems of their own. Kobe Bryant’s done for the season because of an injury. Steve Nash sat out Sunday night. And although Pau Gasol played in the first half, the 7-foot Spaniard felt dizzy and missed the entire second half; a Lakers spokesman said Gasol received intravenous fluids and will be kept overnight in a hospital for precautionary observation.

“We are still the Lakers,” Hill said. “This is definitely one of the top organizations in the league, if not the best. We have to take a stand for ourselves.”

The Magic’s loss created significant ripple effects for the NBA Draft Lottery on May 20.

Orlando entered Sunday with the league’s third-worst record.

Now, the Magic’s chances of remaining in that position have been enhanced.

With 11 games left in Orlando’s season, the Magic (19-52) trail the Lakers (23-46) by five games in the overall NBA standings and by six games in the loss column.

Current Magic players don’t want to hear that kind of talk, of course.

Victor Oladipo finished with 21 points, five rebounds and 10 assists.

But Oladipo also committed eight of the Magic’s 20 turnovers. The Lakers converted the Magic’s giveaways into 21 points.

“I can correct the turnovers,” Oladipo said. “I can see if I was going out there trying to make crazy passes, trying to do stuff that isn’t there. But a lot of the turnovers I can correct. So if you want to take a good thing out of the bad, that’s one thing.

“But it’s just tough in general. Going out there and having a mindset of winning and then coming up short is always tough.”

The Magic started the game poorly. They committed seven turnovers in the game’s first five minutes and allowed the Lakers to jump out to a 16-6 lead.

The Magic recovered — but only temporarily. Orlando surged to a 30-29 lead early in the second quarter after Harris scored six consecutive points when he made a driving layup, a layup and another layup after he collected an offensive rebound.

Orlando’s success was short-lived.

Los Angeles struck back with a 17-2 run that was fueled by balanced scoring. The outburst put the Lakers ahead 46-32.

The Magic cut the Lakers’ lead to 73-70 late in the third quarter when Maurice Harkless tossed a behind-the-back pass to Harris, who finished off the play with a slam. Even Lakers fans inside Staples Center uttered “Oooh!”

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn used 11 players. He said he wanted to compensate for any possible fatigue his team may have felt due to the back-to-back and the road trip.

Harris said the team felt a bit tired in the fourth quarter.

“But it’s still not an excuse,” he said.

“It’s the NBA. It’s a long season. The Lakers, they could be tired, too. It’s part of the game.” Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.

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