The Los Angeles Lakers have an excellent chance at picking up a second consecutive win without LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the lineup as they face an Orlando Magic team on Sunday night that has committed to tanking the remainder of the season.
The biggest story surrounding the Magic is about who is no longer on the roster. On the day of the trade deadline, the Magic shipped out their three best players — Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier — for massive hauls that set them into a full rebuild.
Outside of draft picks, the Magic received Gary Harris and RJ Hampton from the Denver Nuggets and Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. from the Chicago Bulls. Of these players, only Harris is on the injury report for Sunday, meaning the other three should be good to go.
L.A. will have to see Carter, Porter and Hampton in their Magic debut, leaving just 11 active players on the roster for them. The Magic also have Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, but they are out for the season with a torn Achilles and ACL, respectively.
The Lakers, on the other hand, continue to be without James and Davis. There is some good news on the Davis front, as he was cleared to begin some on-court activities, but is still “a ways away” from returning according to Frank Vogel.
There has been little in terms of James news, as it was reported that he will miss a total of 4-6 weeks from the date of his injury. However, that information was not released by the Lakers and they have not revealed anything about James.
Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma finally were able to lead the Lakers to victory without James and Davis on Friday. They defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, turning up the defensive intensity to allow just 86 points for the whole game.
Given the difficulty to create offense without their two superstars, defense will be the way they win almost all of their games for the time being. The Magic’s lack of available players should make that task a little easier for a Lakers team that desperately needs wins to keep pace atop the Western Conference standings.
It was reported on Sunday that center Andre Drummond plans to sign with the Lakers. He hasn’t played in a while after parting ways with the Cleveland Cavaliers though, so it remains to be seen when he will make his team debut.
Lakers (29-17) vs. Magic (15-30)
7:00 p.m. PT, Mar. 28, 2021
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Kyle Kuzma
PF: Markieff Morris
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezl Harrell, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Wesley Matthews
Projected Magic Starting Lineup:
PG: Chasson Randle
SG: Dwayne Bacon
SF: Otto Porter Jr.
PF: James Ennis III
C: Wendell Carter Jr.
Key Reserves: Michael Carter Williams, Mo Bamba, Karim Mane, RJ Hampton, Khem Birch, Chuma Okeke
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