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The Magic Face The Lakers In LA

Tonight the Orlando Magic face the Lakers on the road in Los Angeles. The Magic are on the first night of a back-to-back tonight, whilst for the Lakers it is a second night.

Regular Season Game 3 – Orlando Magic vs Los Angeles Lakers 

  • U.K. tip time is 02:30 (2:30am Tuesday morning). That’s a 10:30pm tip for our friends in Orlando and 7:30pm in California. 
  • To watch the Magic face the Lakers here in the U.K. you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription. 

The Orlando Magic 

  • Season Record: 2-0
  • Standing: tied 1st in the East
  • Points Per Game: For – 109 (20th) Against – 91 (1st)
  • Rating: Offensive 10th Defensive 3rd
  • At this point of the season Orlando are in the upper reaches of the NBA for rebounding, free throws made and attempted, steals (both most made and least conceded) and for what we allow opponents every stat is in the top 10 of the league.
  • Scoring is being led by Franz Wagner with 21 ppg, followed by Cole Anthony (19) and Paolo Banchero (13)

Last Time Out For Orlando

  • The Magic opened this 4 game road trip with a hard fought win over the Portland Trail Blazers by 102-97.
  • The final quarter saw Portland come back from 13 down to within 5 points. The Magic showed composure and maturity to hold out for the win.
  • Had Orlando hit more than the 65.6% of the 32 free throws attempted the victory could have been comfortable. 
  • What stood out was the Magic’s physicality, intensity and effort on defence again.
  • Franz Wagner led the Magic with 23 points, while Cole Anthony scored 18 from the bench. Moe Wagner went 8-8 shooting for his 17 points.
  • It was interesting to see that Coach Mosely trusted his bench guys to be part of the closing unit. Cole Anthony played the entirety of the fourth quarter, Moe Wagner all but the final 90 seconds. Markelle Fultz and Wendell Carter Jr both saw their minutes dramatically down and Jonathan Isaac did not feature in the second half at all.
  • Strong stats were 45 rebounds, 22 assists, 10 steals and 5 blocks. Turnovers were again far less than experienced last season, now averaging 15 per game.
  • The starting unit was as expected Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr.
  • The core bench unit was again Cole Anthony, Gary Harris, Jonathan Isaac, Joe Ingles and Moritz Wagner. Coach Mosely kept the rotation at 10 players for this one.
  • Orlando held Portland to just 38 points in the paint. In the opening two games the Magic are averaging just 35 ppg conceded in the paint. Remember last season the league average was a shade above 50 for points in the paint per game.

Now To Tonight For Orlando

  • As before expect the coach to have the view that he will stick with a formula that is working.
  • The team focus will remain on building from defence. One-on-one isolation, hounding ball handlers, active hands getting those steals and deflecting passes. 
  • Barring any late injuries the units will remain as in the opening two games. Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr all starting. 
  • Being the first night of a back-to-back there could be some focus on using a greater number of players than the 10 in Portland.
  • As to injuries Kevon Harris is again listed as out with a sore left knee and Trevelin Queen will not feature either. 

The Los Angeles Lakers 

Looking Back

  • Last season was a story of two halves for the Purple and Gold. Ultimately a 43-39 record saw them finish 7th in the West. They beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in 7-8 play-in game, then dispatched the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors to reach the Western Conference Final, losing 0-4 to the Denver Nuggets. 
  • Deals were made with existing players Anthony Davis, De’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves
  • They further brought in Gabe Vincent, Jaxson Hayes, Taurean Prince, Christian Wood and Cam Reddish. Via the Draft they gained guard Jalen Hood-Schifino. 

Some Lakers Season Stats

  • Season Record: 1-2 (road loss in Denver, home win over Phoenix)
  • Standing: 10th in the West
  • Points Per Game: For – 111.3 (13th) Against – 115.3 (19th)
  • Rating: Offensive 19th Defensive 14th
  • Offensively this is a team with a focus on attacking from inside the arc and drawing free throws.
  • A lot of shot creation is by the individual and not via assists.
  • Three point shooting has been somewhat of an issue for the team so far. It is not their biggest offensive focus taking relatively few shots from beyond the arc per game. However they also have a poor 3 point percentage. 
  • This is a team that values the ball, top 10 in fewest turnovers per game.
  • They do force opponent turnovers through ball pressure and can be effective in making steals.

Last Time Out For The Lakers

  • The Lakers last night played in Sacramento, losing in overtime 127-132 to the Kings.
  • The game saw Anthony Davis impacting with a 30 points and 16 rebounds double-double. LeBron James almost notched a triple-double with 27 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists
  • Starting 5 – PG D’Angelo Russell, SG Austin Reaves, SF LeBron James, PF Taurean Prince, C Anthony Davis
  • Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood and Cam Reddish all again came from the bench in a 10 man rotation the coach has favoured. 

Tonight

  • Their injury report for last night had Jared Vanderbilt and Jalen Hood-Schifino out, Cam Reddish was day-to-day but featured. All three of the two-way players did not feature. There has been no new update on that at the point of completing this.
  • Being the second night of a back-to-back it could ultimately impact on who coach Darwin Ham chooses to name in the starting unit, his rotations and minutes played by those involved. This is especially true when you consider that the Lakers next game is against their division rivals LA Clippers. The results of those matchups can be argued to be more important in context of the final season standings than a single game against a team from the East.
  • That being said it is fair to expect little variation in their core units. Minutes and bench usage as said previously is likely to be a little different. 

Head to Head With The Lakers

  • In 68 regular season games played the score stands at 23-45 to the Lakers.
  • The Lakers have now won 6 meetings straight, sweeping the series 2-0 in the last three seasons. Granted the Lakers got a lot of help from the officials in the last meeting in LA when Austin Reaves only had to breathe to be awarded free throws.
  • Orlando’s last victory on the road to the Lakers was also their last win over the Purple and Gold, coming in Jan 2020.

A Final Thought As The Magic Face The Lakers

  • This young Magic team have to go out into the Lakers home court tonight and play their game, not be dictated to by the home side. Against the Kings the Lakers struggled at times to deal with the pace and intensity of Sacramento. 
  • On the first night of a back-to-back there is an opportunity for Orlando to go 3-0 on the season. Whilst not having much travel involved the Lakers are coming off the extremely hard fought overtime defeat in Sacramento onto the second night of a back-to-back. 
  • What must be remembered is that the core 10 players the Lakers are using have a vast experience in dealing with difficult situations. They have a know how and as was seen last night in coming back several times from large deficits a determination to win. Yes, they came up short against a strong Kings team but perhaps that gives them a hunger to redeem the situation tonight against another up and coming side.
  • If the Magic play their game, whilst respecting their opponents but not being overawed they can end this losing run against one of the most successful teams in the NBA. It won’t be easy, it will be hard fought but it is winnable!

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GO MAGIC!