The Orlando Magic will head from their own coast to the West Coast Wednesday night to square off with the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers. Orlando has won three of its last four and sits seventh in the Eastern Conference.
The Lakers look for a 10th straight win, as they haven’t lost since their Christmas Day game against the Clippers. The Lakers’ Anthony Davis is questionable headed into the game, and they are in no rush to bring him back with the team winning.
The Magic come in with Aaron Gordon, D.J. Augustine, and Michael Carter-Williams all on the injury report and questionable to return Wednesday night. Gordon and Augustine combine for nearly 24 points per game that Orlando will have to replace in its rotation.
If Davis ends up sitting out another game, the Lakers will be missing their leader in points, rebounds, and blocks, but that hasn’t slowed LeBron James and company down yet. Check out our betting preview for this contest.
Uh Oh, It’s Magic
The Magic have played well this season under new head coach Steve Clifford; unfortunately, not quite well enough to be above .500. They come into the contest at 19-21, 16 games out of first in the Eastern Conference.
Starting center Nikola Vucevic has led the way for the team, averaging 18.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. The combination of Vucevic, Jonathan Isaac, and Mo Bamba as proven shot-blockers, has propelled the team to fifth in the league in shots blocked.
Orlando’s starting guards have played well all season, Evan Fournier leads the team in scoring, putting up 19.2 per game. Markelle Fultz has shown vast improvement since being moved to the Magic. Fultz is averaging 11.5 points and 4.5 assists per game.
He’s shooting over 46 percent from the field, which has to be even better than the Magic anticipated when acquiring him. It seems Fultz’s shot isn’t as broken as Philadelphia may have thought.
Los Angeles has looked dominant at both ends of the floor all season. Although, one could say that Frank Vogel has had one of the easiest jobs in the league in coaching James and Davis together. Both have been outstanding offensively and defensively.
If Davis sits Wednesday night, look for JaVale McGee to help the Lake Show dominate the paint on both ends. McGee has averaged 5.8 boards and 1.7 blocks per game this season.
Dwight Howard’s return to the Lakers should continue to help in the absence of Davis as well. Howard is averaging 7.7 boards and 7.5 points per game in his resurgence chasing a ring.
Not enough can be said about the play of James this season. He’s playing, well, like James always plays, showing the ability to distribute and score at will, while he locks you down on the other end of the floor. Even if Davis is out, James should have no trouble leading the team to its 10th straight victory.
West Coast Offense
The Lakers are ranked seventh in the league in scoring and third in points allowed. It will be a tough task for an injured Magic team to keep up. Orlando is 19-19-2 against the spread this season, while the Lakers come in 22-17-1 against the spread.
At home, the Lakers are 11-8-1 against the spread. The Lakers are favored by 9.5 headed into Wednesday, with an over/under of 211.5. Time shall tell who covers with a near double-digit spread.