The Orlando Magic are on the west coast for a scheduled meeting against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. The Magic are on the road for the next five games, their first road trip without Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic. In their first outing after the trade deadline, the Magic put up a decent fight, but ultimately lost grip for a 112-105 loss against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.
All things considered, you can’t expect much more from this tanking Magic team. Sure, the Trail Blazers didn’t put forth their best effort, and were without Damian Lillard, but the Magic competed. With Fourner and Vucevic getting shipped out of town, the Magic were clear about their intentions for the rest of the season. They are tanking and looking to improve their odds in the draft lottery.
The Magic go into Los Angeles with a record of 15-30 for second-last in the Eastern Conference. The Detroit Pistons are the only team with a worse record at 12-33. However, with Vucevic and Fournier gone, the Magic are the clear bottom feeders of the East. The Pistons have been close against several big teams this season. Orlando has had their moments, like on Wednesday in a 112-111 win over the Phoenix Suns. It’s hard to find many more positives this year, though.
Orlando goes into this contest with losses in 12 of their previous 14 games. This was with Vucevic on the roster for the Magic. So if you think it’s been ugly in Orlando, you probably haven’t seen anything yet. They take on a limping Lakers team without Lebron James and Anthony Davis. The entire approach the Lakers take to games when they’re healthy is out the window right now.
This is a much different team without the services of Lebron and AD. That much goes without saying. The Lakers are coming off a 100-86 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. They grinded out a win behind a big performance from Montrezl Harrell off the bench. Harrell went for 24 points and 10 rebounds to do his best job at replacing AD. Those games are going to happen for Harrell, though consistently getting that out of him is difficult.
The win stopped a four-game losing streak. Fortunately, the Lakers have Dennis Schroder back in the lineup after sitting down with an injury. Others like Kyle Kuzma and KCP really need to step up for the Lakers, though. Head below for our free Magic vs. Lakers pick on March 28, 2021.
Orlando Magic vs. LA Lakers NBA Betting Odds:
Magic vs. Lakers Prediction:
There is one thing that the Lakers don’t do, even when healthy, that is a common misconception with this team. The Lakers do not look to run their offense as fast as possible and blow other teams off the floor. They prefer a more methodical offense that sets up and looks for the open shot. When Anthony Davis was active, they went inside-out and ran a more traditional offense. It’s refreshing to see in this era of the NBA.
Most teams just want to run and bomb threes from deep. Not the Lakers, and without Lebron and AD, they have to slow things down even more and lean on their defense. The Lakers are 21st in the NBA with 111 points scored per game. Through their last five outings, the Lakers have registered 100 points per game. They’ve scored more than 101 points in just one of their last five contests. Fortunately, the defense has been able to hold up well without Lebron and AD, though.
The Lakers conceded 106.6 points per game during that five-game stretch. That pretty well lines up with their overall season numbers. They’ve allowed 106.3 points per game for second in the league. Teams are shooting a poor 45.5% against the Lakers, and only 34.9% from three. All of their defensive metrics, including rebounding is inside the top-10. With a defense like that, the Lakers don’t have to try to win shootouts every night.
Expect the Lakers to neutralize an Orlando team that has scored only 104.6 points per game this season. They’re 30th in the league with a field goal percentage of 43.2%. This was with Vucevic and Fournier for most of the year, so don’t expect any improvements for the Magic. On the road, they’ve recorded just 102.3 points a game. The Magic have been serviceable defensively, with 111.3 points against per game. They aren’t going to want to hurry up offensively, nor will the Lakers. The final score should land on the UNDER at the Staples center.