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The Magic Return Home To Take On The Lakers

Tonight the Magic return home to take on the Lakers. For an injury hit Orlando it is the start of a four game homestand (technically, one game is in Mexico). The Lakers also have some injury concerns to deal with.

Regular Season Game 6 – Los Angeles Lakers vs Orlando Magic

  • Venue – the Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
  • U.K. tip time is 11pm, which is 7pm for our friends in Orlando. 
  • To watch here in the U.K. you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription. 

Orlando Magic 

  • Season Record: 3-2
  • Home Record 1-0 Road Record 2-2
  • Standing: tied 3rd (3rd through 7th) in the East
  • Points Per Game: For 107.6 (23rd) Against 104 (3rd)
  • Rating: Offensive 21st Defensive 2nd
  • The Magic are averaging 10.6 steals per game (53 in the season so far), which is the league’s 2nd best rate.
  • Scoring is being led by Franz Wagner with 18.6 ppg, followed by Paolo Banchero (16) and Cole Anthony (15.6).
  • Paolo Banchero is also the team leader for both assists (4.6) and steals (2) per game. Jalen Suggs is also on 2 steals per game.

Last Game 

  • The Magic finished the road trip west with a nail biting 115-113 win over the Utah Jazz. 
  • There were multiple lead changes and momentum shifts. Orlando led by 7 with under 2 minutes remaining, only to see the Jazz come back and take a 1 point lead. 
  • Paolo Banchero erupted for a season-best 30 points, which included the game winning basket with 14 seconds remaining, giving the Magic a 1 point lead. He was patient, efficient and aggressive in his play.
  • With just over a second left in the game Talen Horton-Tucker missed a game winning opportunity from the three for the Jazz. Wendell Carter Jr claimed the rebound, was fouled in doing so and went to the floor. Unable to continue Anthony Black took the subsequent free throws, splitting the pair for the win.
  • Anthony Black got his first heavy minutes with Markelle Fultz out. Black made all four of his field goals attempted and finished with 9 points, 3 rebounds, an assist and 2 steals. He is the only teenager to ever record this stat line or better in 15 minutes or less.
  • Orlando took 36 free throws, making 27 of them (75%). 27 assists, 16 steals and 9 blocks were very positive stats. Also a 35.7% rate with the three-point-shooting was a nice improvement. Turnovers remained a slight concern. 
  • The starting unit was as changed with Markelle Fultz a late scratch. Jalen Suggs moved to the point and Gary Harris came in at the shooting guard position. Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr rounded the team out.

Tonight

  • Starting with our injury report and it is far from happy reading again. Markelle Fultz is questionable having missed the Jazz game with left knee soreness and swelling. Gary Harris is day-to-day but out with a groin injury having withdrawn at halftime against the Jazz. Wendell Carter Jr is out for 3-to-6 weeks minimum with what was reported as a fracture to the left hand middle finger. Finally, Kevon Harris is still out.
  • Therefore the starters have to change tonight. Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero will again start but who joins them? If Fultz is fit he starts at the point. If not does Cole Anthony step in to the starting unit or does Anthony Black get his first NBA start? At centre who gets the start and is the deciding factor our opponent tonight, namely the Lakers Anthony Davis. The three options are Moe Wagner, Goga Bitadze or switching Jonathan Isaac to the role. To the Davis matchup I think either Bitadze or Isaac are better suited. Harris’ absence may see an opportunity for Jett Howard or Chuma Okeke to see minutes.

The Los Angeles Lakers 

  • Season Record: 3-2 
  • Standing: tied 5th in the West (5th through 7th tied at 3-2 record)
  • Points Per Game: For 114 (15th) Against 114.8 (18th)
  • Rating: Offensive 18th Defensive 12th
  • 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 (take 32.4 per game, make 9.8, rating 28th with 30% made).
  • 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.
  • They have made 34 block shots in 5 games, with Anthony Davis leading the league with 15 of those. 

Last Time Out For The Lakers

  • The Lakers last played on Wednesday night in 125-130 overtime win, taking down their city rivals the Clippers.
  • A team leading 35 point / 11 rebound double-double for LeBron James was supplemented by 7 assists. Anthony Davis had a 27 point / 10 rebound double-double, whilst D’Angelo Russell logged 27 points and 6 assists.
  • Starting 5 – D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, LeBron James, Cam Reddish, Anthony Davis.
  • Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood and Max Christie were the only three players to come from the bench.
  • The starters all played in excess of 36 minutes, with James logging 42 minutes and Davis 47!

Tonight

  • Their injury report is extensive and impactful. Jared Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent and Jalen Hood-Schifino are all out. Taurean Prince is day-to-day but probable.
  • Coach Darwin Ham will again be reliant upon his starting unit to play big minutes.
  • If available Taurean Prince could return to the starting lineup. If not Cam Reddish will remain alongside D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who have started all 5 games so far this season.

Head-To-Head With The Lakers

  • In 69 regular season games played the score stands at 23-46 to the Lakers.
  • The Lakers have now won 7 meetings straight, sweeping the series 2-0 in the last three seasons.
  • Orlando’s last victory over the Purple and Gold came in Jan 2020.
  • The Magic’s last home court victory was November 17th 2018, on the back Vooch’s 36 points and 22 from DJ Augustin. 

A Final Thought As The Magic Return Home To Take On The Lakers

  • Tonight is far from easy for a Magic team hit with significant injuries. There will be some time needed for adjusting to the new rotations. 
  • At 3-2 the Magic are at least where we as fans hoped they would be. Having beaten three teams they “should beat” and lost to two that are seen as serious contenders the season has seen a relatively positive start. 
  • The injuries now being experienced have put a tarnish on that though. This home stand will be a testing one for Orlando against strong opposition (Lakers, Mavs, Hawks and Bucks), a task made no easier with key players likely to be out.
  • The thing we know is that this Magic squad does not lack in self belief, can thrive in adversity and is used to covering for injury.
  • The Magic will have to find some way of containing the juggernaut that is the LeBron James and Anthony Davis partnership.

The Let’s Talk Magic Game Preview

GO MAGIC!