The (38-16) Los Angeles Lakers are in Florida today to face the (34-21) Orlando Magic. The Lakers are 4-0 on their Grammy road trip and the recurring theme has been locking teams up defensively. Their defense has not allowed 100 points to an opponent, so far, on the road.
Several people outside of the Lakers Nation have openly questioned if this team could make a fourth straight appearance in the NBA Finals. There has been a lot of talk about something not being right with them. The current road trip is serving notice to all of the naysayers, that the defending champions are prepared to defend their crown.
The Lakers are STILL the champions and teams need to adjust to them and not the other way around.
The Purple and Gold road show has landed in Orlando. The Lakers continue their business trip with a matinee against the Magic. The Lakers have displayed the defense, energy, effort and high activity level that the we are accustomed to seeing.
The Lakers are displaying excellent ball movement, player movement, they’re executing offensively, getting the ball to their big players, and said players are responding.
The Magic, like every NBA team, have shortcomings. They have questions that are in need of answers. There are two questions for the Orlando Magic. Are Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy on the rocks? Who will guard Kobe Bryant?
The Magic have allowed a combined 47 points to the likes of Willie Green and Lou Williams. They realize that they are stepping up in weight class dealing with The Black Mamba. The trio of Jason Richardson, J.J. Redick and Quentin Richardson will all have their hands full.
The Magic are 3-3 in their last six games. They lost nine consecutive times to a team with a winning record. That number will rise to double-digits.
The Lakers need to play Dwight Howard one-on-one as much as possible. If the Lakers can make Howard a scorer and not allow the Magic to shoot three pointers, today’s game will be an easy victory.
Against the Magic, the Lakers big players have to run 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 it will have to be a team effort.
The Magic run several screen and roll plays. The Lakers have to communicate on defense to shut said plays down. They need to stop the dribble penetration of Jameer Nelson, who initiates a lot of the screen and roll plays. Nelson is more of a shooter than a player who will attack the basket.
The Lakers need to get back in transition to stop the Magic from scoring easy baskets. They need to continue to play with consistency and not allow open shots.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom and P. Gasol
Magic: J. Nelson, J. Richardson, H. Turkoglu, R. Anderson, D. Howard
Tip-off: 12:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: ABC
- Orlando: ABC
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Orlando: Newstalk AM 580 WDBO (Dennis Newman & Richie Adubato)
- Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out
- Devin Ebanks (Sore Knee) Questionable
- PF Brandon Bass (Sprained Left Ankle) Doubtful
- C Daniel Orton (Left Knee Arthroscopic Surgery) Out