Preview: Lakers (16-27) @ Magic (11-32)

January 24, 2014 — 4:00 PM (PST)
Amway Center, Orlando, FL
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Now suffering from a two-game losing streak, the Lakers (16-27) seek to gain a victory tonight vs. Orlando Magic (11-32) to get to .500 on this Grammy’s trip. The Lakers played well at times vs. Heat, but once again could not play good defense, allowing 109 points last night.

Pau Gasol once again performed very well and seems to be in peak shape despite all the losses the Lakers have been piling up. Gasol scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, playing very effectively from the post, shooting 9-15 in the first half. Tonight, the Lakers need to continue to run the offense through him to finish tonight’s game unlike last night when the Lakers got away from their post game.

The Magic have been playing worse than the Lakers actually, losing 12 of their last 13 games, as they continue to find the right pieced to field a competitive team 2 years after C Dwight Howard left them for the Lakers.

Former UCLA Bruin G Aaron Afflalo leads these young group of Magic, scoring 20.2 PPG, grabbing 4.5 RPG, and dishing out 3.8 APG. He has a very solid all around game, playing both ends of the floor well, and would be a very good asset for a title contending team, but not as a go-to guy.

Projected Starters

PG - Kendall Marshall / Jameer Nelson [Advantage: Even]
SG - Jodie Meeks / Aaron Afflalo [Advantage: Magic]
SF - Wesley Johnson / Victor Oladipo [Advantage: Magic]
PF - Ryan Kelly / Tobias Harris [Advantage: Magic]
C - Pau Gasol / Glen Davis [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Magic: C Kyle O’QuinnG Doron LambC Mo Harkless

Lakers: G Nick Young, G Manny Harris, F Jordan Hill

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Magic: Out-C Nikola Vucevic, Out-PG Ronnie Price

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-PG Jordan Farmar

Keys for Lakers Victory

Rebounding: I know I am kicking a dead horse at this point. However, the Lakers really have to to find a Magic player to box out and then crash the boards to not allow extra possessions. The Lakers gave up 12 offensive rebounds to a Heat team which already average last in the NBA grabbing offensive rebounds per game. Momentum in a game can swing against the Lakers quickly if they allow extra possessions and have to play defense for more than one possession.

Bottom Line

Hard to believe the Lakers finally can match-up vs a team with as bad of a record as the Lakers over the last month. However, the Lakers, notably Gasol, have been playing much better in the last 4 games and need to start building multiple-game winning streaks before all of their injured guards return to the line up. Expect the Lakers to compete well tonight and get a much needed victory tonight.

Prediction

Lakers: 109-104

 

Kanta Ito currently attends UC Santa Cruz as a 4th year undergraduate Business Management Economics major. Kanta also contributes to Warriors World and seeks to attend Graduate School to study Sports Management.

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