Game Preview: Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Lakers 12/02/12

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

The Los Angeles Lakers look to finish a light week of work with a Sunday evening contest against the Orlando Magic. A great opportunity to build on the momentous victory against the Denver Nuggets.

Casting Call

Los Angeles Lakers (8-8, 100.6 ppg, 95.9 ppg allowed)

Orlando Magic (5-10, 91.1 ppg, 96.4 ppg allowed)

  • Nikola Vucevic (9.5 ppg, 46.4% fg, 1.6 apg, 7.9 rpg)
  • Glen Davis (14.8 ppg, 42.2% fg, 2 apg, 8.1 rpg)
  • Maurice Harkless (4.8 ppg, 52% fg, 0.5 apg, 4.5 rpg)
  • Arron Afflalo (14.7 ppg, 42.2% fg, 2.5 apg, 3.6 rpg)
  • E'Twaun Moore (11 ppg, 44.1% fg, 3.5 apg, 2.9 rpg)

Showtime

6:30 pm PST

Plot

At some point the Los Angeles Lakers are going to break through the wall of inconsistency that has held them back to start the season. The rotation from blow out victories to disheartening losses is maddening, but after lighting the Denver Nuggets up like a Christmas tree, the Orlando Magic are next in line to face the purple and gold in one of only two games being played Sunday evening.

A game that will have enough dramatic undertones to make daytime television blush, this needs to be anything but dramatic for the Lakers. A game against the 5-10 Magic should be a snooze fest with the Lakers cruising to a BIG victory against a team that is floundering after being left in a smoldering crater this Summer. It's as simple as this; when a teams leading scorer is Glen Davis (14.8 ppg), there's absolutely no reason the Lakers should even be amusing the notion of this being a game. Go in, execute the objectives, and walk out with a victory over their prized acquisition's former team.

With a week heavily laden in rest, the Lakers should be fresh in their Sunday whites which they just so happen to be undefeated in (wins over Detroit, Sacramento, and Houston). An early season game against Orlando in Staples means very little to the vast majority, but the fact does indeed remain that Dwight Howard will be facing the franchise he was the face of for eight years, which may be surreal for him as an individual. Coming off of his best game as a Laker, a 28 point 20 rebound performance that was as dominant as they come, Howard has an opportunity to build on the step forward he took. Dwight's thoughts on playing against Orlando for the first time?

"Well, you know, it’s going to be a little weird playing against my former team," Howard answered. "But we need a good win and [to] come out with a lot of energy. So I’m going to put all my effort into getting ready for the next game and playing with a lot of intensity and just having fun. - Dwight Howard via The Orlando Sentinel

Other players who need to carry forward their great games? Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks, who both looked like they were participating in shooting drills against the Nuggets. The two are just beginning to ride their bikes without training wheels after having their roles and minutes muddled early in the year. Following up the 54 point performance is a tall order, but finding a way to get 30+ points a night from the two should be more than enough to help propel the Lakers. The Lakers have, I daresay, options based on who has a hot hand with Jamison and Meeks showing they can be contributors. The downside, perhaps, is that Jordan Hill has seen his minutes significantly decrease as of late. His mid-range jumper is better described as a mid-range clunker, which puts D'Antoni in a bind. Playing Howard and Hill together provides the best defensive front court for the Lakers, but also two players with limited range (unless Dwight becomes a corner three specialist). It may be some time before Mike D'Antoni finds a front court rotation that works best for the Lakers bigs, trying to find ways to maximize both Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol together and apart. So long as Jamison is playing his part and producing for the Lakers there's time to be had while D'Antoni tinkers.

But, enough about the Lakers, how bout dem' Magics? As expected, the Magic are having a down year, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for a team that will be rebuilding from the bottom up. Again. Hedo Turkoglu has been out after injuring his hand and looks to be missing at least another month, and Al Harrington is "out indefinitely" (miss you, Steve Nash). Jameer Nelson missed their last contest with a strained left Achilles making his status for the game unknown at this time, which places E'Twaun Moore into their starting lineup. There aren't many bright spots on this Magic roster, featuring ZERO players with a defensive rating under 100 playing regular minutes. They are last in the league in steals and free throws attempted, 29th in three point field goals, and 28th in points per game

The Lakers have played what feels like every game in the month of November in Staples, over the next three weeks they will be home only three times (Orlando, Utah, and Charlotte). Hitting the road for 8 out of their next 11 contests makes home games like this extremely important. At home, against a sub-par Magic team riddled with injuries, the Lakers should dominate every statistic in the box score. The up and down effort the purple and gold have displayed, though, would leave no one surprised if they come out flat and find themselves in a dog fight with a team wanting to get a big road for their franchise after having to deal with the "Dwightmare" for the last two seasons.

On This Soundtrack

Usher - U Remind Me

Yo, I ain't seeing you in a minute, but I got something to tell ya, listen.

See the thing about you that caught my eye
Is the same thing that makes me change my mind
Kinda hard to explain, but girl, I'll try,
You need to sit down this may take a while
See this girl, she sorta looks just like you
She even smiles just the way you do
So innocent she seemed but I was fooled
I'm reminded when I look at you.

You remind me of a girl, that I once knew.
See her face whenever I, I look at you.
You won't believe all of the things she put me through.
This is why I just can't get with you.

Thought that she was the one for me,
Til I found out she was on her creep,
Oh, she was sexing everyone, but me.
This is why we could never be.

You remind me of a girl, that I once knew.
See her face whenever I, I look at you.
You won't believe all of the things she put me through.
This is why I just can't get with you.

I know it's so unfair to you,
That I relate her ignorance to you.
Wish I knew, wish I knew how to separate the two
You remind me, whoa...

You remind me of a girl, that I once knew.
See her face whenever I, I look at you.
You won't believe all of the things she put me through.
This is why I just can't get with you.

You remind me of a girl, that I once knew.
See her face whenever I, I look at you.
You won't believe all of the things she put me through.
This is why I just can't get with you.

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @BallReasons

- Check out Orlando Pinstriped Post as they prepare to take down the devil himself, Dwight Howard.

- Buy Los Angeles Lakers Tickets click here

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