- Lakers have won 9 straight games overall
- Anthony Davis is questionable for the Lakers with his glute injury
- DJ Augustin questionable for Orlando; Jonathan Isaac remains out
|Magic||+10 (-110)||+470||Over 212 (-110)|
|Lakers||-10 (-110)||-640||Under 212 (-110)|
The Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers may occupy different coasts of the country, but the two franchises will always be linked. Arguably the two greatest players in Magic history, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard, both left the team in favor of the Lakers at one point. The two franchises also met in the 2009 NBA Finals, a series won in 5 games by LA.
A Finals rematch this season doesn’t seem to be in the cards, but never say never. The Lakers are currently breezing through the season, while the Magic are making a push for a second straight playoff berth. The Lakers sit at 33-7 on the year, and they’re currently rolling on a 9-game winning streak. LA has a 5-game advantage over the No. 2-seeded Utah Jazz in the conference.
Orlando enters Wednesday’s contest in Los Angeles at just 19-21 on the year, but that’s actually good for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference as things stand today. The Magic have gone 6-4 over their last 10 games, and they’ve won 4 of the last 6 overall.
The Lakers picked up a 96-87 victory over the Magic in Orlando in the only previous meeting of the season between the teams. Nikola Vucevic missed that game with an ankle sprain, but he’ll be in the lineup tonight. The Lakers are currently listed as healthy 10-point favorites at MyBookie in a game with an implied total of 212 points.
Will Anthony Davis Return?
The Lakers have enjoyed some pretty good injury luck so far this season. While several other contenders have been forced to deal with injuries to key players, the Lakers have been largely healthy. Anthony Davis and LeBron James have missed a few games here and there, while guys like Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo and Danny Green have occasionally missed some time. No player has endured any sort of long-term injury, though, which is at least part of why the Lakers are at the top of the conference.
The Lakers haven’t just been winning, they’ve been rolling over teams of late. Each of LA’s last 4 wins have come by double digits, including a 125-110 victory over the Thunder in Oklahoma City in which neither Davis or James suited up. 7 of the wins over the course of the current 9-game streak have also come by double digits.
Davis suffered a bruised muscle in his backside after taking a hard fall in last week’s game against the Knicks. The injury has caused the 6-time All-Star to miss each of the last 3 games, but the team is in no rush to get him back with the way they have been playing without him. The Lakers initially feared that Davis could have suffered a bone bruise on the play, but the fact that it is just a muscle bruise meant his recovery time would be a matter of days rather than weeks.
It helps to have LeBron on your team. The 4-time league MVP has had no problem picking up the slack during Davis’ absence. He has now scored at least 31 points in each of his last 3 games, and on the season James is averaging 25.5 points, 10.7 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Some wondered how much James would have left in the tank after he was limited to just 55 games a season ago, but he has answered those questions and then some so far in 2019-20. The 10.7 assists per game is easily the best mark of his career thus far, and it has taken him almost no time to get acclimated to playing alongside several new teammates.
Orlando’s Defense-First Approach
The Magic took a blow of their own when Jonathan Isaac went down with a knee sprain at the beginning of the month. Isaac is expected to miss at least 2 months with the injury, and there’s a decent chance he doesn’t play at all the rest of the season.
Isaac was in the midst of a breakout year, and his absence is a blow to the Magic on both ends of the floor. Orlando will really miss his rangy defense. The 6’10” Isaac is lanky and athletic enough to guard multiple positions, and with Al-Farouq Aminu also sidelined the team is down a couple of upper-echelon wing defenders.
Orlando still owns the fifth-best defensive rating in the NBA, as they’re allowing just 103.4 points per 100 possessions. Only the Bucks, Raptors, Lakers and Celtics have been better in that regard on the year. The Magic owned the stingiest defense in the league from January until the end of last season, which helped vault the team into the playoffs.
Orlando didn’t make many changes over the summer. Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross were re-signed, and the team’s brass was optimistic that young players like Isaac, Markelle Fultz and Aaron Gordon would continue to improve.
Fultz has been a nice story in his first full year with the team. Following a couple of injury-plagued years in Philadelphia, the former No. 1 overall pick seems to have finally found a home. The Washington product is averaging 11.5 points, 4.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game, but he has upped his averages in every category so far this month.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Davis returned tonight. He has already said that he is close to returning, and even with the team continuing to win I would imagine he’s eager to get back out there.
If he’s out, though, the spread for this game is too wide. The Lakers are 10-point favorites here against a Magic team that likes to slow the game down and grind games out defensively. Neither team cracked 100 points the last time they met.
Regardless of Davis’ status, I think you can take the Magic to cover the spread tonight. Orlando is better than their record shows, and even without Augustin I like their chances of keeping this one competitive. I also think you can take a shot on betting the under on 212 points, but Orlando ATS is my preferred option.