The Lakers really didn’t look all that great on Thursday night at the Miami Heat, especially knowing that Dwyane Wade wasn’t around for the festivities. It was the second straight game in which Kobe Bryant didn’t lead the team in scoring, though there is no shame in scoring 24 points. However, he is taking a slew of shots to get to those points, and he really needs to shoot the ball better. As a team, LA really has to shoot better from beyond the arc. The team is only capitalizing on 25.4 percent of its three point attempts, which is the worst shooting percentage from long range in the game. The defense is going to be the best bet to beat the Magic. The team is allowing just 89.9 points per game this year, No. 5 in the league, and thanks to the size and length of the likes of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, teams are only shooting 41.1 percent from the field, No. 2 in the league. Don’t think that Kobe can’t take over a game by himself. He is still averaging over 30 points per game on the campaign.
Orlando has gotten off to a great start to the season at 10-4, but there are still some tough games ahead. This is the start of a brutal stretch against the Lakers, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, and the Celtics again. Dwight Howard might be on his way to Tinseltown at some point, but for now, he is still playing with the Magic and will have to be the key to win this game. Howard is leading the team in scoring at 20.1 points per game and rebounding at 15.6 points per game, and the argument could be made that he is the most valuable and the best big man in the game. Orlando is averaging 97.3 points per game this year, which is No. 7 in the league, and the defense, as always with Howard manning the middle, is solid at 92.4 points per game. The problem is that at times, there aren’t too many scoring options when Howard isn’t on the court. Ryan Anderson, Hedo Turkoglu, JJ Redick, and Jason Richardson are all double digit point scorers, but it seems as though all of their numbers are dropping rapidly as Howard and Jameer Nelson get their legs under them again.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Orlando Magic Trends: The Lakers are only 1-7 ATS in their last eight games on the road, but the road team is 10-4-1 ATS in the last 15 games in this series. The underdog is 11-3-1 ATS in the last 15 as well. The home team has won four straight since these two teams met in the NBA Finals though, which gives the Magic the chance to take another one from the boys from Tinseltown.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.