It’s Game Day 46 which sees the Magic at the LA Lakers . This is the first meeting of the season with the defending NBA Champions. It is also the first night of a tough five game road trip to face opponents from the Western Conference.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 3am here in the UK (10pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR THE MAGIC AT THE LA LAKERS
The Lakers are on the third night of a four game home stand having played last on Friday night. That game saw the Lakers break a four game losing streak with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers by 86-100. Montrezl Harrell led the Lakers with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Dennis Schroeder and Markieff Morris were the only other players to hit double digit scoring.
Orlando began their new phase on Friday night with defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers in the Amway by 112-105. Chuma Okeke led the way with a new career high of 22 points as the Magic pushed Portland all the way. Khem Birch had a strong game with a double-double consisting of 14 points and 15 rebounds. James Ennis III scored 18 points and Dwayne Bacon 17 as seven of Orlando’s available eight players scored double digits.
The Lakers have won 15 of 25 home games this season. Orlando have won 5 of 20 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 15-30, whilst Los Angeles Lakers are at 29-17. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Lakers have a 5-5 record, whilst Orlando are 2-8. The Lakers won their last game and are on a 1 game win sequence, whilst Orlando are on a 1 game losing run.
Orlando remain 14th in the Eastern Conference, whilst the Lakers are 4th in the Western Conference.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS
The Lakers as defending NBA champions have made a few changes to the side that took the title in the Disney bubble but with the twin threat of LeBron James and Anthony Davis had remained very effective under the leadership of former Magic Head Coach, Frank Vogel. That was until both James and Davis went down injured, since then things have proved harder.
The Lakers come into the game as the NBA’s 18th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 111 points per game. Defensively they have the NBA’s top rating, conceding an average of only 106.2 points per game (2nd least points conceded per game in the NBA).
Offensively they can play at a very fast pace where the opportunity arises, hitting 14.4 fastbreak points per game. However they equally happy to play at a measured pace, moving the ball and using the shot clock to get a good look. They are mid table for assists though at 24.6 per game, unsurprising with having players who can create their own scoring. Points in the paint account for 55.3% of the Lakers points per game and 28.8% from beyond the arc. These figures are season based but without LeBron the percentage of points in the paint has dropped and three’s increased. They shoot 48.1% from the field and 35.2% with the 3 ball.
Their defensive rating is the best in the NBA and reflected in per game stats for blocks (5.6 per game) and steals (7 per game). The Lakers turn the ball over at one of the highest rates in the NBA, 15.3 times per game. They also don’t foul a lot and commit on average 19 fouls per game. 53.5% of opponent points come in the paint and 32.5% from deep.
THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS SQUAD
According to ESPN Portland have three absences for tonight. LeBron James (25.4 PPG) is out with an ankle sprain, Anthony Davis (22.5 PPG) is out with a calf issue and Jared Dudley (0.5 PPG) has a knee injury that could require surgery.
Last game Coach Frank Vogel started Dennis Schroeder (15.2 PPG), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (8.5 PPG), Markieff Morris (6.2 PPG), Kyle Kuzma (12.2 PPG) and Marc Gasol (4.8 PPG).
From the bench came Talen Horton-Tucker (8.1 PPG), Montrezl Harrell (15.1 PPG), Alex Caruso (5.6 PPG), Wesley Matthews (4.5 PPG),Devontae Cacok (2 PPG), Alfonzo McKinnie (2.4 PPG) and Kostas Antetokounmpo (1 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS
The all time head-to-head record in the 62 regular season games played sees the Magic trailing by 23-39.
Our recent record with the Lakers see Orlando having won 4 the last 6 games played.
Last season saw the series tied 1-1. Orlando lost in the Amway on December 11th 2019 by 96-87 but take the return in the Staples Centre on January 15th 2020 by 119-118 with only 9 fit players.
The teams have met in the playoffs just once, during the 2009 NBA Playoff Final which the Lakers took 4-1.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
As I write the injury report on ESPN dos not make for great reading.
Terrence Ross (16 PPG) is listed as out with knee soreness, but his status has been upgraded to questionable.
Listed as day-to-day but not injury related are RJ Hampton (2.5 PPG), Wendell Carter Jr (11 PPG) and Otto Porter Jr (10 PPG).
Gary Harris (9.7 PPG) has been absent from the Denver team with a thigh issue, again he is out tonight.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) remains out with a non-displaced rib fracture. He is not cleared for contact but is taking part in on-court activities. He does not appear to be close to returning yet.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
THE ORLANDO LINE-UP FOR THE MAGIC AT THE LA LAKERS
The Magic starting unit against Portland was the 19th of the season with Chuma Okeke (5.4 PPG), Khem Birch (5.6 PPG), James Ennis III (7.8 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.1 PPG) and Chasson Randle (5.8 PPG).
From the bench came Michael Carter-Williams (9 PPG), Karim Mane (1.1 PPG) and Mo Bamba (4.9 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 15-30
HOME RECORD – 10-15
ROAD RECORD – 5-15
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 27TH OF 30 (105.9)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 19TH OF 30 (112.7)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.6)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 15TH OF 30 (111.3)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 7-9
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 12-3
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 10-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-18
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 4-8
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 4-3
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 6-1
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 5-2
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 3-6
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 5-11
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-10
LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 42 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 77 – GAME DAY 38 SAN ANTONIO SPURS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 132 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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KEYS TO THE GAME FOR THE MAGIC AT THE LA LAKERS
For the Magic at the LA Lakers it could be another game with as few as 8 available players. Even with a Lakers’ team without either LeBron James and Anthony Davis this remains far from an easy task. However the determination Orlando showed against Portland will trouble teams as the Magic channel the spirit of “Heart and Hustle”.
Defence of the paint is a must for Orlando. This Lakers’ squad has threats from many positions and they still have depth. Montrezl Harrell is reigning Sixth Man Of The Year, a genuine danger. Minus their obvious star players the Lakers are having to regroup and show they can play without LeBron to dictate their game.
Everything written about Orlando prior to Thursday is now pretty much obsolete. It will take a few games to see how the team adapt to new line-ups and increased responsibilities.
A renewed focus is needed on this road trip West as the old guard have gone and the rebuild begins. The results are relatively unimportant to a team likely bound for the draft lottery. There is no better place to create camaraderie than on the road! For the Magic at the LA Lakers perhaps there may be a debut or two.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Orlando still has the 4th worst record in the NBA, so have a 12.5% chance of landing the number 1 draft pick when the lottery comes. The tough second half of the season is well underway. Being 4.5 games back of Chicago in 10th and the wholesale trade of our most consistent scorers makes it hard to see Orlando competing for the post season.
The dates to look for as the season progresses are:
The regular season ends May 16th.
The Play-In tournament is May 18th and 21st.
From May 22nd to July 22nd the NBA Playoffs are scheduled to run.
There is not a date set for the Draft Lottery. The 2021 NBA Draft had been set for Wednesday November 18th. However recently Adam Silver has indicated the 2021-22 season is hoped to start back at its more normal time of late October so this date could yet be revised.