Pre-Game Report: Lakers @ Magic

The Lakers continue their season-long road trip this afternoon in Orlando when they square off against the Magic. After two big wins late last week in Boston and New York, it is safe to say the Lakers are playing their best basketball since the first week of the year. They’re currently 4-0 on their road trip, and if they want to make it to 5-0 they’re going to have to play a solid game today against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

Keys to the Game:

Control the Tempo – The Magic are a team that like to run and shoot. Their three point shooting can overwhelm teams at times, and it’s up to the Lakers to not fall into the tempo trap. If the Lakers can control the ball and the clock they will be able to take Orlando out of their game.

Utilize Size and Length – Other than Dwight Howard the Magic are very thin up front. After trading away the rest of their big men and Brandon Bass’ injury, the Magic don’t have a strong post presence off the bench. The Lakers can take advantage of this by feeding the ball to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the paint. Just as Los Angeles did against Boston and New York, using their size as an advantage can determine the outcome of this game.

Play Within the Offense – If the Lakers don’t settle for outside shots and instead work the ball through the paint to create open looks from the perimeter they should shoot a high percentage. If they get too trigger happy and begin to play lazy offense that involves long jump shots early in the shot clock it will feed into Orlando’s style of play. Disciplined offense will lead to much easier defense.

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