Orlando Magic vs. Los Angeles Lakers (April 26, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Wendell Carter is getting a chance to contribute and grow with the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Wendell Carter is getting a chance to contribute and grow with the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic try to break their home losing streak and a five-game losing streak overall as they take on the Los Angeles Lakers with Anthony Davis back in the fold.

Orlando Magic (18-42) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (35-25)

Time/TV: 7 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Lakers by 10
Tickets: $64-$72,333 on StubHub
2021 Season Series: Lakers 96, Magic 93 in Los Angeles on March 28; Tonight in Orlando

PaceOff. Rtg.Def. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR
L.A. Lakers99.0109.7106.353.826.715.426.9

OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic are getting ranked 30th in power rankings at the moment. And it is hard to blame anyone for that. They have rarely put together a good 48-minute effort. There have maybe been three of those games since the trade deadline, maybe four. And they all happen to be wins. Plus maybe that loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Getting those efforts depends on a whole lot of things happening.

Right now, they simply are not for the Magic. Their defense is inconsistent at best and non-existent at worst. The Magic are just not a team that is super tied together or playing with the details for long enough. There are plenty of good moments still. But against disciplined teams, they struggle for just long enough to get buried.

102. 38. Prediction. 118. 20

3 Keys To Watch

Mo Awareness

Mohamed Bamba has put up numbers recently. No one is denying that. He is averaging 12.6 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game on 50.7-percent shooting in his last eight appearances. That includes a game where he pulled himself out of the game three minutes in with a sore hip. Bamba has always had a really good per-36 stat line and nobody seems entirely surprised he is filling up a box score.

But even Bamba will be the first to tell you he needs to be better on the defensive end and that some of the team’s defensive struggles are on his inability to be a factor in the paint. The Magic have a 124.2 defensive rating with Bamba on the floor since the trade deadline. Cole Anthony is the only player with a worse on-court defensive rating. Bamba understands he has to be better defensively to stay on the court. Identifying the problem is the first step toward solving it.

Return of the Brow

Anthony Davis has been back in the lineup for two games for the Los Angeles Lakers. It does not feel like he has lost too many steps, although he has definitely needed to knock off some rust. Davis scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds in nearly 45 minutes of action against the Dallas Mavericks. In Saturday’s game, he scored 17 points on 5-for-19 shooting in 28 minutes.

Davis is probably still on a minute restriction. But he will play and those minutes are going to be the biggest challenge for the Magic. Wendell Carter is still on a minutes cap after coming off his injury. He would still be the best bet to defend Davis even at his reduced time on the floor.

The 48-minute game

This is the mythical thing every coach is chasing — a true 48-minute effort. The Orlando Magic have not really had one of these since their win over the Chicago Bulls, and even that game you could argue Zach LaVine nearly erased a whole game’s worth of effort in about six minutes. It feels like every game now there is a stretch of play where the Magic just do not have it and they see a tight game turn into a blowout.

Next. Orlando Magic must find their diamond in the rough. dark

For now, the Magic have to weather those storms and keep finding ways to grind points out even when their shots are not falling. They need to lean on their defense and focus on that end to survive those moments. This will require the team’s veterans to play with more attention to detail. Guys like Gary Harris and Dwayne Bacon really set the tone for this young group.