LeBron James, Lakers Top Magic in Scrimmage as Anthony Davis Exits with Injury

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FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, stands with forward Anthony Davis during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Los Angeles. James and Davis had the Lakers on course to contend for another NBA title before the coronavirus pandemic upended their first season together. The superstars see no reason they can’t continue their quest in Orlando, and Davis even thinks the Lakers’ chances have improved.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers continued to gear up for the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season with a 119-112 exhibition victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday at HP Field House in Florida.

L.A., which will enter the restart as one of the league’s top championship contenders, dropped its first scrimmage to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, 108-104. It produced a strong all-around performance Saturday, shooting 56.9 percent from the field while holding the Magic to 34.3 percent shooting.

Orlando suffered its second straight loss after a 99-90 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. It’ll start regular-season play inside the bubble as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, 5.5 games ahead of the Washington Wizards.

Of note, Lakers star Anthony Davis exited the game after being poked in the right eye during the first half. He did not return, finishing with nine points, 10 rebounds and one block in nine minutes.

             

Notable Stats

LeBron James (LAL): 20 PTS, 7 AST

Anthony Davis (LAL): 9 PTS, 10 REB

Kyle Kuzma (LAL): 25 PTS, 7 REB

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (LAL): 17 PTS

D.J. Augustin (ORL): 21 PTS, 5 AST

Aaron Gordon (ORL): 14 PTS

Nikola Vucevic (ORL): 10 PTS, 6 REB

Michael Carter-Williams (ORL): 15 PTS, 8 REB

           

Kuzma Looks Primed For Major Bubble Impact

James and Davis will need to dominate the next few months if the Lakers are going to navigate the loaded Western Conference and chase down the franchise’s 17th championship. They’re going to need help, however, and that’s the Lakers’ biggest question mark in Orlando.

Kuzma was the only L.A. player besides the team’s superstar duo putting up over 10 points per game when play was halted March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. He averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 54 games after missing the season’s early stages with a foot injury.

It could make the 25-year-old Michigan native the ultimate X-factor inside the bubble.

If he plays like a third star, the Lakers will be an incredibly difficult out given their high-end talent and depth elsewhere on the roster. I