Carmelo Anthony provides second-half spark in Lakers' win at Orlando

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The Lakers' Carmelo Anthony heads back down the court after he made a second-half three-pointer Jan. 21, 2022.
The Lakers' Carmelo Anthony, who scored 23 points in a reserve role during Friday night's win at Orlando, heads down the court after he made a three-pointer. (Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

Carmelo Anthony kept his eyes on the basketball as it rolled off the rim, his focus on the missed layup attempt by Russell Westbrook.

As the ball slipped off the rim, Anthony reached up and snatched the offensive rebound. He took one dribble, pump-faked and scored in traffic, yelling after he had completed the play Friday night.

It was another high-energy moment for Anthony in the second half, a play the Lakers needed in their 116-105 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Anthony scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half. For the game, he was eight-of-13 shooting from the field, including four for five from three-point range, and made all three of his free throws, which came about when he was fouled attempting a three-pointer.

“I wanted to just come in and do what I had to do as far as changing the momentum of the game,” Anthony said. “Not just from scoring the basketball and shooting it well, but a different energy, a different effort. I think a lot of times, well, most of the time, that’s contagious out there on the court.”

Anthony was at his best in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 points, going three for four from the field while making those three free throws on the ensuing possession after sinking a three-pointer, giving the Lakers a 95-85 lead with nine minutes left to play.

“I’m just playing my role, man, just what’s called for me to do each night,” Anthony said. “It’s different teams defending me differently than they do others. So, it’s just about me playing smarter. I read the defenses. I give my team an opportunity to get us spaced out, give them a weapon on the wing. Take advantage of the mismatch. For me, I just try to make the game simple and make it easier for myself and the other guys.”

Anthony did his work in just 17 minutes 24 seconds. He had three rebounds and one blocked shot.

“Any time you get a hot hand like that, he’s one of our snipers,” LeBron James said about Anthony. “He’s one of our quick bucket-getters, where they can get hot and it will come in a flurry and it’s my job and it’s a lot of our other guys — but it’s most important when I’m on the floor — it’s my job to find him as much as I can and I just tried to do that in that second half.”

Avery Bradley solid on defense

His teammates wanted to make sure they praised Avery Bradley for his defense in the Lakers’ win over the Magic.

When the Lakers went on their run in the third quarter, outscoring the Magic 31-16, James said it was because of the pressure applied by Bradley.

“In the third quarter we was able to turn the game around and it started with AB’s pressure at the point of attack, and we all followed suit,” James said.

The Lakers held the Magic to 26.3% shooting in the third, 12.5% (one for eight) from three-point range.

Bradley’s stat line was nine points, four rebounds and two steals.

“I also want to credit Avery Bradley for his defensive tenacity, especially in the third,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I felt like it really energized our group and was a big part of our early third-quarter run.”

Turner reported from Los Angeles.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.