The Los Angeles Lakers’ annual Grammy road trip kicks off amidst a ton of rumors and uncertainty surrounding head coach Frank Vogel. But he and the Lakers have an excellent chance to get their road trip started on the right foot and calm down the rumors for at least a little bit as they head to Orlando to face Magic.
The Magic have the NBA’s worst record and have lost 13 of their last 14 games. If ever there was a team to help build confidence, this would be it. The Lakers also won the first meeting between these two teams back in back in December.
The Lakers come into this contest with a number of questions and Vogel on a serious hot seat. Furthermore, all eyes will be on Russell Westbrook and how Vogel employs him in the rotation after going away from him down the stretch of the team’s loss to the Indiana Pacers.
Vogel’s rotations as a whole will be closely watched as the team’s younger players have looked more effective, leading to positive outcomes recently more than the team’s veterans. The likes of Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, Stanley Johnson and Austin Reaves have played great as of late and how many minutes each of them received as opposed to players such as Avery Bradley, Trevor Ariza and Carmelo Anthony will be something to watch.
Regardless of who is on the court, the Lakers’ perimeter defense will be key in this contest as the Magic have a pair of young guards capable of causing damage in Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs. Both are still inconsistent in the early parts of their careers but could be in line for big games if the Lakers aren’t focused.
Additionally, the Lakers are very familiar with Terrence Ross who is always instant offense off the Magic bench.
The Lakers will also have to contend with seven-footer Mo Bamba, who is having the best season of his career and is coming off a 32 point, three-block performance. Wendell Carter Jr. is also expected to return, so this could be a game where Dwight Howard is needed a bit more to make sure the Magic don’t dominate the glass.
But one consistent for the Lakers continues to be LeBron James, who delivers every single night. His frustration over the Lakers’ struggles is well known and if he is intent on setting the tone in this road trip, it could be a long night for the Magic.
Lakers (22-22) vs. Magic (8-38)
4:00 p.m. PT, Jan. 21, 2022
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Trevor Ariza
PF: LeBron James
C: Dwight Howard
Key Reserves: Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, Austin Reaves, Stanley Johnson, Carmelo Anthony
Projected Magic Starting Lineup:
PG: Jalen Suggs
SG: Gary Harris
SF: Franz Wagner
PF: Wendell Carter Jr.
C: Mo Bamba
Key Reserves: Cole Anthony, Terrence Ross, Chuma Okeke, Robin Lopez, Moe Wagner
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