The Orlando Magic’s road trip continues as they stop over in Los Angeles for the first of an L.A. doubleheader against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Orlando Magic (2-0) at Los Angeles Lakers (1-2)
Time/TV: 10:30 p.m./NBATV, Bally Sports Florida
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Line: Lakers by 3.5/Magic Money Line: +130/Over-Under: 219 on FanDuel
Tickets: $23-$579 on StubHub
Season Series: Tonight in Los Angeles; Nov. 4 in Orlando
Our Prediction Record: 2-0/2-0 ATS
There was a little bit of intrigue entering the game as LeBron James was dealing with left ankle tendinitis following Sunday’s overtime loss in Sacramento. But he appears good to go. That certainly ramps up the intensity of the game and the potential for the Orlando Magic to really showcase who they are.
No doubt, this will be the biggest test of the Magic’s defense to this point. And this is exactly what the team needs to see in this game. Orlando needs to see just how good its defense can be against elite competition that both LeBron James and Anthony Davis will provide.
The game will turn on which team’s offense picks up the most steam though. Both teams have struggled to shoot from the outside to start the season and that will be a highlight for this game.
3 Keys To Watch
Win the Paint
The Orlando Magic’s offensive numbers do look pretty nice at the moment.
The team has a 113.5 offensive rating and seems to be doing a good job putting pressure on the paint and on the rim. Orlando is 10th in the league in points in the paint at 52.0 points per game on the early season. Add in the second-best free throw rate in the league and Orlando is putting plenty of pressure to get quality shots.
This is the biggest key to the Magic’s overall philosophy. They want to win the paint. And no statistic probably has a bigger bearing on how well this team is playing than those paint points. The Magic do their work defensively there too, giving up just 35.0 points in the paint per game, second-best in the league.
This is where the Los Angeles Lakers will try to attack. They obviously have two juggernauts at getting to the lane in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Getting them to settle is going to be paramount for the Magic overall. Los Angeles is currently averaging 54.0 points in the paint per game, fourth in the league. Something is going to give.
Find Your Shot
That thing that is going to give likely will be whichever team finds its 3-point shooting first. Both the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers have struggled tremendously from deep to start their seasons. It is the biggest flaw in both of their games.
Orlando as a team is shooting 29.0 percent from deep to start the year. Los Angeles is not much better at 29.1 percent.
Both teams have capable shooters that just have not found their range quite yet. But this has been the biggest thing holding the Lakers back as they try to spread the floor around LeBron James and get Anthony Davis going.
The Magic are going to pack the paint and dare the Lakers the shoot. The Lakers are likely to do the same. Whoever can loosen that pickle jar and find some makes could pull away here.
Control the Glass
The Orlando Magic struggled on the glass against the Portland Trail Blazers as part of their relative malaise from their first game on the West Coast. Where the Orlando Magic looked quicker to the ball throughout the game against the Houston Rockets in the opener, they looked slower to attack loose balls and their deflections against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Orlando Magic have always been battling to be more attentive on the glass and that should be a big factor going up against the Los Angeles Lakers. They cannot give them second-chance opportunities (or run-outs for that matter considering how much the Lakers have struggled offensively to start the season).
Orlando is giving up 16.0 second-chance points per game to start the season — Los Angeles is at 17.0 second-chance points per game, signifying there is a chance to attack the offensive glass despite Los Angeles’ good defensive rebound rate. This is surely an area the Magic are still working to clean up.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.