The (47-20) Los Angeles Lakers will be back at Staples Center tonight to start a 7-game home stand, their longest of the season, hosting the (42-25) Orlando Magic. The Magic are in second place in the Southeast division in the Eastern Conference.
The Lakers successfully completed their four game road trip winning three of four but coming very close to sweeping the road trip.
After Kobe Bryant spraining his ankle in the third quarter of the Mavericks game, he’s availability will be a game time decision. He’s averaged 30 points in the last 11 meetings with the Orlando Magic, including the playoffs.
In the event Kobe Bryant will not be able to play tonight, hopefully, playing at the Staples Center will soften the blow to the team. The Lakers host the Timberwolves on Friday night, giving Kobe time to rest and recuperate. They’re currently in playoff mode and have posted a 22-8 record at home this season.
The Lakers defensive focus and offensive discipline has been a key to them getting back on the winning track. Their bigs Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol have been huge since the All-Star break and have taken advantage of the opportunities to dominate.
The Lakers need to make sure that Andrew and Pau are factors tonight by running their offense through the post. Dwight Howard poses a huge challenge tonight since coming off a 25-15-5 game against the Suns.
Bynum and Gasol have to come up big in tonight’s game. The Lakers front line has to come out aggressive on both ends of the court, be physical and do a good job boxing out Howard to keep him off the boards.
The Lakers have to control the tempo of the game, stop the dribble penetration of the Magic guards, communicate on defense, do a solid job defending against the screen and roll plays, get back in transition and rotate out to open shooters.
The Magic rely on the three-point shot so the Lakers have to extend their defense out to behind the arc and go chest to chest with their shooters to chase them off the three-point line.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Magic: J. Nelson, J. Richardson, H. Turkoglu, B. Bass, D. Howard
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Orlando: ABC
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Orlando: Newstalk AM 580 WDBO (Dennis Newman & Richie Adubato)
- Matt Barnes (Right Knee Surgery) Probable
- Devin Ebanks (Stress Fracture, Left Tibia) Out
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out
- Derek Fisher (Sprained Left Elbow) Probable
- Kobe Bryant (Sprained Left Ankle) Game-Time Decision
- SG J.J. Reddick (Abdominal Strain) Day-to-Day
- C Daniel Orton (Left Knee Arthroscopic Surgery) Out