Game Preview: Los Angeles Lakers @ Orlando Magic
Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic enter this game on a high note. The 18-46 Magic are coming off of a win over the Phildelphia 76ers while the Lakers defeated the Chicago Bulls Sunday to improve to 33-31.
These two teams met back on December 2 in Los Angeles when the Magic staged a fourth quarter rally to defeat the Lakers 113-103. Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 34 points while Arron Afflalo had a team-high 30 to lead the Magic. Both Nikola Vucevic (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Jameer Nelson (19 points, 13 rebounds) had double-doubles for the Magic. Dwight Howard finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers.
The Magic rank 25th in offensive rating (99.7), 26th in defensive rating (106.5) and play at the league’s 17th-fastest pace (93.96). The Lakers are eighth h in offensive rating (105.7), 18th in defensive rating (103.7) and play at the league’s fourth-fastest pace (97.01).
Tip-off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST and will be shown locally on FS Florida. There may be the occasional “boo” from the fans in attendance.
Dwight quote that will irk #Magic fans:”They treated me well, but it didn’t end right. But I’m in a better place & everyone has to move on.”
— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) March 12, 2013
As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5 and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are Bill Kennedy, Eric Dalen and Mark Lindsay.
The Line: Los Angeles – 8.0 (207u)
Los Angeles Lakers
Metta World Peace
The day Magic fans have been waiting for is finally here – Earl Clark is back at the Amway Center (Clark, who missed the first meeting (coach’s decision), has since shown a lot of improvement. Clark is averaging 8.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season)!
So is Chris Duhon (Ok, so seeing Duhon play for the opponent is probably a dream for most Magic fans). Duhon is averaging 3.1 points and 3.1 assists per game this season while shooting 38.5% from the floor.
Dwight Howard returns to Orlando for the first time since injuring his back last season. Howard has struggled through most of the season due to his injuries, but is playing better lately, including a 16-point, 21-rebound and four-block performance against Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls Sunday afternoon. Nikola Vucevic has been very good for the Magic (12.3 points, 11.4 rebounds per game), but healthy or not, Howard is going to be a handful for the second-year Southern Cal product.
The Magic will be without three players from the first meeting – Glen Davis (left foot surgery), Josh McRoberts (traded to Charlotte) and J.J. Redick (traded to Milwaukee).
The Lakers did not have Steve Nash in the first meeting, but did have Pau Gasol, who won’t play tonight (foot).
Andrew Melnick is a Senior blogger for Magic Basketball Online and a contributor at SB Nation. Andrew has covered the Orlando Magic for four years and also works as a radio host. You can follow him on twitter here.