The Los Angeles Lakers’ five-game road trip resumes with a showdown against the young Orlando Magic on the tail end of a back to back for the Purple and Gold.
The Lakers were in action Tuesday night at South Beach, versing the Miami Heat who took down Los Angeles behind a strong second half.
Chris Bosh tallied 30 points and 11 rebounds to help his team secure the victory, while Dwyane Wade struggled, scoring 12 points on 5 of 14.
Kobe Bryant did not play in Miami due to back soreness in which he said, “I had trouble walking.” His stiff back is going to keep him out of this upcoming game against Orlando, barring any last-minute surprises.
With Bryant out, the young core received the opportunity to fully display their talent, but they were unsatisfactory to say the least.
D’Angelo Russell finished with four points, four assists, and four rebounds, while Julius Randle tacked on seven points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Jordan Clarkson had a respectable game, concluding with 12 points and two steals.
Instead, it was the veterans who shined in Miami led by Nick Young’s 17 points on 5 of 9 shooting from three-point range. Metta World Peace earned the start in place of Kobe and notched 14 points on 4 of 4 shooting from downtown.
However, if the Lakers want to go into Orlando and escape with a W, the veterans are going to need more support from the youngsters.
In Miami, turnovers were an enormous concern, as they committed 18 miscues. It is typical for a young team to get sloppy, but it is an area they need to clean up, especially when playing on the road.
Against Orlando, the backcourt matchups should be the most intriguing. On one end, you have Russell and Clarkson, and on the other, you have Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo.
Russell, in many ways, possesses a style similar to Payton, as both young point guards love to play make. Meanwhile, Oladipo and Clarkson are very similar as well, two combo guards who are athletic and extremely aggressive. Therefore, we are in for an amusing backcourt clash.
Up front, the Magic may be without big man Nikola Vucevic for a fourth consecutive game, as he is nursing a bone bruise in his right knee. The Montenegrin is currently considered questionable, and if he does not suit up, Dewayne Dedmon will continue to receive the start at center.
Nevertheless, without Vucevic, the Magic has gone 2-1, with their only loss coming most recently to the Indiana Pacers on Monday. Evan Fournier, who has had an incredible start to the year by averaging 19 points per game, led Orlando with 21 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the offensive onslaught of Paul George (27 points) and Monta Ellis (23 points).
The Lakers split the season series with the Magic last season, 1-1. In the first meeting, L.A. was able to blowout Orlando, while the second game went to overtime where Orlando closed out the Lakers, 103-97, led by Tobias Harris’ 34 points.
Wednesday night’s game will tip-off at 7 pm Eastern Time.