The Los Angeles Lakers look to keep their 11-game road winning streak intact as they kick off a five-game road trip in Florida against the Orlando Magic.
The Lakers are undefeated away from Staples Center and plan on keeping that going, but things won’t be easy against a defensive-minded Magic team.
Anthony Davis will look to continue his unreal level of play as he’s averaging 33.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks over the last five games. With LeBron James also operating at an MVP-level and keeping his teammates involved, the Lakers have been running on all cylinders.
Those teammates will be the key to a Lakers win as usual. Danny Green and Alex Caruso both were excellent against the Minnesota Timberwolves as Green hit four three-pointers while Caruso poured in a season-high 16 points. Green has been up-and-down this season so it was good to see him rid his recent shooting woes while Caruso could be even more relied upon with Rajon Rondo hobbled and questionable for the game.
Kyle Kuzma, who suffered an ankle injury against the Washington Wizards, will not play and is listed as day-to-day.
With Nikola Vucevic not available, the Magic have relied on their backcourt to step things up offensively. Evan Fournier is their leading scorer and Terrence Ross remains one of the league’s best scorers off the bench, capable of getting hot in seconds. Markelle Fultz has also finally begun showing signs of promise, but will not play.
But where Orlando shines is with their defense and they are one of the few teams with a pair of forwards who — at least physically — could offer resistance to the team’s All-Star duo.
Jonathan Isaac leads the NBA in blocks while also averaging over a steal a game and while Aaron Gordon has the size (6’8, 235 pounds), length, and athleticism to possibly give James trouble on the perimeter.
The Magic are a team that slows the game down and relies on defense with just enough offense to get the job done. Unfortunately for them, the Lakers can play that style better if they choose to while also being better in transition and from the three-point line.
Barring the Lakers allowing a career-night to a random Magic role player, Orlando simply doesn’t have the weapons to score consistently on this stifling defense. While they have some players who could present some problems, Los Angeles just has too much for them to handle overall.
As long as the Lakers take care of the ball and don’t slack off defensively, they should kick this road trip off with a win.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic
4:00 P.M. PT, Dec. 11, 2019
Amway Center, Orlando, FL
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley, Alex Caruso
Orlando Magic Starting Lineup:
PG: DJ Augustin
SG: Evan Fournier
SF: Aaron Gordon
PF: Jonathan Isaac
C: Khem Birch
Key Reserves: Terrence Ross, Michael Carter-Williams