LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers suffered their 9th defeat of the season on Wednesday, as they fell to the Orlando Magic, 119-118. It was the first loss that the Lakers have had against a sub-500 team all season.
Former number 1 pick, Markelle Fultz, was red hot on a night where the Magic led the Lakers by 20-points, on two separate occasions. Fultz posted a 21-point triple-double (11 rebounds, 10 assists). This was on 9-19 shooting, with not a single 3-pointer attempted. His second career triple-double.
He was instrumental in the upset and hit a clutch layup, whilst being guarded by LeBron James, with mere seconds to go. Fultz twisted and turned, showing off his agility, before finishing strong at the rim.
LeBron James was questioned about Fultz in the postgame media scrimmage. Specifically about his resurgence in Orlando, following a tricky spell in Philadelphia to start his career.
“He’s confident in himself, and he’s given the opportunity to go out and play the game how he’s grown up playing it. And, you know, I just think everything else has taken care of itself. I’ve been supportive ever since he was at high-school coming through, as a rookie in Philly I’ve been supportive through his.. situation.. I’m happy as hell for him.” – LeBron James
The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Markelle Fultz with the number 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but a shoulder injury soon came to the forefront. Following a tough spell of games, where his shooting mechanics looked puzzling.
This continued throughout two seasons and he was subsequently traded to the Orlando Magic in February 2019. Fultz only featured in 33 games for Philadelphia.
Well, he certainly looks rejuvenated in Orlando, with a point to prove. He’s featured in 39 of the Magic’s 41 games so far this season. Averaging 11.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.3 steals, on 46% shooting.
He’s had the hot hand in the last five games too. Averaging 16.6 points per game, along with 6.6 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. The starting point guard position in Orlando is his to lose now.