Coming off of a victory against the Portland Trail Blazers and a 44 point masterclass from LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers take to the road to visit America’s armpit, Florida, to play the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat. On their first stop, they take on a franchise they’re quite familiar with. With the history of Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard getting plucked up by the Lakers (though with varying results), the Lakers will look to start off their Florida trip with a W, extending their win streak to four.
The Orlando Magic are currently coming off of a last-second win from a Terrence Ross 3 against the new look Philadelphia 76ers, and are sitting at seven wins and eight losses, enough for eighth in the East. The Lakers are currently 8-6 and seventh in the West.
The Magic are led by former USC center, Nikola Vucevic, who is currently averaging 18.8 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game, leading in both of those categories. Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier (do NOT google his last name) fill out the top three players for the Magic currently. There are two young lottery talents on the team in Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba on the team as well, whom the team is developing.
Those two big men are pretty formidable in terms of playing in the post and attacking the rim as they’re averaging 55.6 and 54 percent from inside the 3 point line respectively. This can be a tough test for JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler who have been pretty efficient at protecting the rim so far.
With the news of Rajon Rondo requiring hand surgery, it will be interesting to see how the Lakers will respond. Does Brandon Ingram slot in to play more with the ball with some of the bench players? Or do we get the absolute horror of having to see Lance Stephenson attempting to run the offense? I prefer the former option as we saw how good Brandon Ingram can be with the ball in his hands the season before. Staggering his minutes with LeBron could be the best option for both of those players, especially if he has Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart out there to help space the floor for him.
Speaking of which, KCP has shown a lot in the past 5 or so games with some pretty good play. I’m a fan of the KCP/Hart (headband????) pairing as it’s really given the bench unit some shooting options. Both play decent defense and shoot the rock well, and with Rondo out, I think it’ll be on the bench players more that they step up in his absence.
Tip-off is at 4:00 pm PDT.