TLN’s Game Report: Lakers @ Magic

The (46-17) Los Angeles Lakers are in Florida, attempting to avoid losing three straight games for the first time in two years in an NBA Finals rematch against the (43-20) Orlando Magic.

The Lakers have staggered through this road trip allowing a win to slip through their fingers against the Heat and an embarrassing effort in their annual struggle with the Charlotte Bobcats.

The recent losses suffered by the defending Champs can be attributed to the Lakers not playing like a defending Champion; not playing with a sense of urgency, not matching the intensity of their opponents, not taking care of the basketball, being allergic to the free throw line, settling for too many jump shots, and not enough bench support.

There is nothing more disgusting then seeing our Lakers beat themselves with mental mistakes.

The Lakers has had close games and struggled against the Heat and Bobcats for a few years, however that is no excuse for losing back-to-back games to a couple of .500 basketball teams.

They have several questions to answer, to include their now porous team defense as well as hearing and reading about them being written off as a team that will fall early in the playoffs. The questions are getting louder by the day and will continue to be out there until the Lakers consistently play well and silence their critics. It’s clear to see that the Lakers aren’t playing their best basketball, but the reality is that the team has 19 games to turn things around and start playing like a Champion.

These things will happen in a season, but this season the Purple and Gold are a team that plays better at home as oppose to on the road. The good news is that the squad realizes that they have a problem and are taking steps to correct them. Kobe sent a stern message to his teammates. By late afternoon we’ll find out if the message was received.

The road to repeating for the Lakers starts with their defense.

Against the Orlando Magic, the first thing the Lakers have to do is stay with Dwight Howard. Howard does an excellent job of running the floor and attacking the basket. The task of slowing him down will initially fall on Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol but in the end, it will have to be a team effort.

The moment Howard starts to dominate in the painted area is a prelude to opening the floodgates to several three point shots by the Magic. The Lakers have to defend the screen and roll action plays much better by stopping the dribble penetration of Jameer Nelson. The Lakers have to come out aggressive, play with a sense of urgency, not allow open looks, challenge every shot, and match the intensity of the Magic. This will take the crowd out of the game.

The front line of the Purple and Gold has to show up and have an impact on this game. During the losing streak their production has decreased. It is time for the Lakers front line to attack the basket and stop settling for jump shots. The Lakers need to take care of the ball, make better passes, keep a body on Dwight Howard and Matt Barnes, and control the boards. Against the Magic your defense has to extend out to the three point line.

It is time to see the Lakers play with passion on every possession and impose their will on the Magic. The Lakers need an inspired effort from everyone sporting Purple and Gold gear. The playoff run starts today for the Lakers, I think the team is ready to show the they have the heart of a Champion.

Tip-off: 11:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: ABC
  • Orlando: ABC

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Orlando: Newstalk AM 580 WDBO (Dennis Newman & Richie Adubato)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Kobe Bryant (Avulsion fracture of right index finger, elbow & back)
  • Sasha Vujacic (Sprained Right Shoulder) Out
  • Luke Walton (Back) Out
  • Ron Artest (Sprained Left Thumb)
  • Shannon Brown (Sprained Right Thumb)

Magic:

  • None to report.
Jeff Little is the pre-game writer for LakerNation.com. Follow him on Twitter.
  • berkyberks

    last chance to prove that their are the champion!

    • Laker Fan

      That’s a bit too harsh. It’s true that they should win but last chance? Support your team!

  • ampatuan

    last chance u say? are we already eliminated in the playoffs or finals?

  • http://myspace.com/taeyongpark Day

    11:30 AM***

  • http://57.amklac REALITY

    if they don`t wake up, this one will be over early.if kobe scores 40 they will lose…………..

    • LOL

      You’re a fucking idiot. The Lakers got this in the bag, we are the champions so stop bitching. I hate these “fake fans”

      • http://yahoo jaydubb415

        first we don’t got this in the bag ,second why u got 2 be a fake fan if you get frustaded with youre team every game ,cuzz dude i get the same way as you can see by the lenght in my comments lol , me personally hate seeing teams trying 2 test are nuts when were losing b4 pau we never got tested like this (now we were’nt no big physical team either ) the testy games against phoenix now we got suckas like barnes trying to run up on the mamba now i wasn’t exspecting kobe 2 get thruout over barnes but where’s the hard fouls by his teamates on barnes 4 running upon there star player ,ron ron over patting people on there backs where’s the dude that got all up on kobes face if you let a finess teal like orlando push you around what do you expsect teams in youre confrence 2 do ”there watching this you got 2 stand 4 youre leader and this team doesnt nobody came close 2 getting thrown out and sometime thatis needed 2 send that message””

  • gugy

    I don’t think this game is a statement game like against Denver. While I want the Lakers to win, I think we already proved many times we can beat Orlando.

  • Heron

    Kobe’s taking some bad shots down the stretch.

  • http://57.amklac REALITY

    soooooo who does the mamba blame for this one??MR CLUTCH???RIGHT.

  • BE_A_LakerFan

    F*&K!

  • Kivz

    Another loss huh! Can anybody please answer this question? WHY THE LAKERS PLAY TERRIBLE EVERYGAME??????

    • Al

      Because someone is taking 30 shots per game and shooting 30%.

  • wow

    I blame this loss on “LOL”

  • Xtro

    Another loss. Let’s face it guys. Maybe not this year

  • http://yahoo jaydubb415

    didn’t get that at all kobe if you can hear this ,you make 2 tough @ss 3 pointers 2 keep us close and then when you get a chance 2 end then in a game we should of lost by 8 or 10 points we get a blessing 2 steal one the mamba had fish posted at the three and fish has enmded them b4 so i would agree with kobe let fish take the loast one in orlando this is not like he threw it 2 ron ron in memphis , i guess its like you can be the deadliest playmaker in the world and every now and then youre brainm just takes a fart ”’ and kobes did on that last shot now i do know he was the only reason why we had a chance 2 tie or steal one ” but im talking about that last shot , p.s and the zen master you steal have a time out left youre the highest paid coach in the nba call a time out and draw up one of those 10 millionm dollar play ”’

  • 09champs!

    Kobe makes that shot 99 times out of 100, this shot was just that 1 he misses.
    When he shot it and missed it, I was actually surprised, I fully expected him to make it. But i´m not mad, its just that he has done it so many times that its a regular thing for us.
    And no, this game doesnt mean we are done this season, or we wont win it all, its the REGULAR SEASON!
    Its like thinking that if a baseball team loses a game in spring training, they wont win the world series. C´mon. BE SUPPORTIVE.

    • LGM10

      its not preseason though; its getting close to the playoffs and the switch isn’t flipping anymore. We look more like pretenders than defenders….

      • trippleocho

        Still, 28 other teams in the league would kill to have the record that we have.

    • http://yahoo jaydubb415

      yea but we still have road games left and the lakers need to have the best record in the west 2 have that home field advantage i would rather us have that 7th game in LA insted off denver or dalllas

      • 09champs!

        We will have that 7th game at Staples.. and ok maybe the spring training comparison was off target, but i hope you got my message. This team is built for the playoffs.

  • Jim

    37 percent shooting? And what happened to Farmar again? It seems like he disappears in big games like this.

    • expo

      He plays “0″ defense and contributes close to nothing on offense….. I don’t know why Phil wastes his time with him

  • http://yahoo jaydubb415

    damm i just don’t get pau yall he played all those yuears in memphis where he was the man and he had no talent around him and steal managed to avg. around 20pts and 9 rebounds a game would’nt he have 2 play tough if every team knows youre the only scorer, because he looks hella soft over hear and its in the same conference ,maybe if he came from the eastern conf. i could say well he hasn’t played against big centers or a tougher conf. but he’s been over hear and he looks soft as hell and its KILLING ME !!!!

  • trippleocho

    I still have faith that when the playoffs start we will play waaaaaaaay better. But I still feel Odom should start because he makes everyone on the floor better compared to Bynum.

  • http://yahoo jaydubb415

    i tell you this we better hope its new orleans or even houston because if its portland or oklahoma we can still beat them in the playoffs but i think it will be a 6 or 7 game series if its houstn or new orleans we can them in 5 , my reason 4 saying this is because those teams play us hard in the regular season

  • http://yahoo jaydubb415

    i can’t stand farmar soft ass he comes in shooting airballs ” are you serious ”’ letting jameer just constantly take him into key breaking down are defense ,fisher had 2 save him we would be better if we had someone from the d-league instead of him sorry as hell and he was’nt all that at ucla 4 lakers 2 grab him,can someone tell me wheres that yong dude from kentucky we grabbed a couple of years ago whats his name??