Game 68 Preview: Lakers (22-46) vs. Magic (19-51)


Tonight’s game is against the Orlando Magic.  The Magic are a young team, but with great, developing talent.  There are a few guys to watch out for.

Victor Oladipo is a guy to watch.  He combines elite level NBA athleticism and length with triple threat skills.  The Orlando Magic find him so versatile, that they’re trying him at point guard, to open up playing time for Aaron Afflalo.  Once he gets his jumpshot going, he’s very hard to stop.  He has one change of direction move at the beginning of his drives, but brings so much speed, he ends up at the basket in no time.  With developing passing skills, he could give the Lakers fits on defense.

Nik Vucevic is someone to watch out for in the paint.  He puts up strong numbers despite beings so underrated.  For the year, he’s averaging over 14 points per game with just under 11 rebounds per game consistently. While he plays stronger than his size indicates, he also has a soft touch in the paint with a midrange game.  The pick-and-pop is a weapon for a lot of NBA teams and Vucevic takes advantage of that well.

Tobias Harris is another strong, slashing forward.  While he had a rough game going 1 of 9 against the Utah Jazz last night, he’s the type of player that can match up well against Jordan Hill.  Hill may be stronger, but both are equally active in the paint.  Harris adds a more refined midrange game with an aggression to the basket from the high post.

Do not let the record fool you.  While the Lakers have three more wins for the year, it’s the youth, talent, and athleticism of the Orlando Magic team that traditionally gives the current Laker team fits.  Xavier Henry is a game time decision with a torn ligament in his shooting hand.  Steve Nash is also a game time decision.

The Lakers have won more games despite less ascending talent compared to other teams.  That is a product of team pride and legacy.  The Orlando Magic lost to the Utah Jazz on a game winner from Trey Burke.  Look for the young team to come out with energy.