When ESPN selected this game for their primetime slot, they were probably expecting something a little better than they got. Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant played very good games, but their supporting casts, as a whole, were both poor on Friday night. Kobe's was considerably worse, as the Orlando Magic defeated the Los Angeles Lakers by a final score of 92-80 in a very poor game.
It took until garbage time for either team to get to 40 percent shooting from the floor and both benches were abysmal. Howard scored 23 points and grabbed 21 rebounds while Bryant scored 30 points, but the next highest scorer after the two stars was Jameer Nelson, who scored 17 points.
The Magic go to 11-4 on the season, while the Lakers fall to 10-7. By the way, Kobe put on this great performance with no help from his teammates on a day he lost $75 million.
I'd be okay calling Friday night's matchup between the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers at the half. Just end it now, and we can all go on our merry way. It's lockout ball, which is bad enough, but it's also televised nationally on ESPN. This is not an advertisement for the game.
Whatever the reason -- likely tired legs after enduring long stretches of games -- the baeketball has been flat bad. The Lakers scored 10 points in the first quarter, and it hasn't gotten much better. Midway through the second, Los Angeles finally trended above a projected final score of 40, but just barely. And the shooting? Oh, the shooting.
Players are hitting the bottom of the front of the rim, shots are missing the typical arc and the ability to run a crisp offense has been missing in action throughout the first half. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are a combined 0-7, Metta World Peace is 0-4 and Derek Fisher is one of two Los Angeles players who made more than one shot in the half -- he was 3-of-7.
Kobe Bryant is the only one doing anything and this probably shouldn't surprise you. Bryant finished the half with 15 points, hitting 6-of-10 shots. The team shot 28.9 percent from the field, as well. And because there were so many misses, Dwight Howard had a whopping 14 rebounds in the half.
Troy Murphy and Matt Barnes were the only other Lakers to connect from the field, each making one shot. Yes, four players actually made field goals for the Lakers in the first half, and that was it.
At the half, the Magic lead the Lakers, 48-31. We're still far from on-pace for a respectable looking final score, but it's something, considering how this game began.
Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are in Florida to take on Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. The game's storyline is likely going to revolve around Bryant's struggles or Howard's trade request, but is Brown's offensive scheme the elephant in the room?