After a night in which the Los Angeles Lakers visited Miami while the Heat retired Shaq’s number, the team is headed to another of the Big Diesel’s old stomping grounds. The struggling Lakers will face the Orlando Magic on the second night of a road back-to-back on Friday.
The purple and gold will still be without a big chunk of their frontcourt, as Larry Nance and Tarik Black remain sidelined with knee and ankle injuries, respectively. Starting power forward Julius Randle is also absent for the second straight game following the birth of his first child back home in L.A.
The Lakers will likely use the same lineup they turned to on Wednesday against the Heat, with Luol Deng shifting to the four while Brandon Ingram gets another start at small forward, his natural position.
Without Randle’s playmaking and two of their key bench players, the Lakers will once again have to rely on their stellar guard trio of D’Angelo Russell, Lou Williams, and Nick Young to handle much of the playmaking and scoring. The Magic are particularly weak in the backcourt, so it stands to reason that the Lakers will once again do most of their damage there.
The Magic will turn to their talented front trio of Aaron Gordon, Serge Ibaka, and Bismack Biyombo to counter the Lakers’ attack. Ibaka and Biyombo are particularly lethal on the defensive end, which will make it difficult for Lakers center Timofey Mozgov when his teammates to feed him inside.
Lakers/Magic tips off at 4 PM Pacific Time on Spectrum SportsNet.