The Los Angeles Lakers may be in the home of the happiest place on Earth, but they are facing one of the most depressing teams in the NBA. The Orlando Magic - who at one point hoped to chase a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference - are reeling, having lost 10 games in a row. To top it off, the team just fired head coach Jacque Vaughn, who posted a .269 win percentage in his two-plus seasons in charge.
Vaughn's dismissal was mostly a result of the Magic's terrible defense. Orlando committed itself to pushing the pace in recent weeks, but has been hemorrhaging points as a result. Orlando hasn't conceded fewer than 100 points since Jan. 7, spanning 14 games, and has the league's worst defensive rating during that stretch.
The Lakers don't exactly bring any momentum of their own into the matchup, after squandering a perfectly winnable game in their last outing against the Milwaukee Bucks. Byron Scott, to his credit, has tried to use his younger players as much as possible to build for the future, and probably lose in the present. However, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Clarkson have both struggled recently. Kelly clearly isn't a viable NBA small forward, but can't find minutes among the glut of Laker big men, even without Jordan Hill. Clarkson lost his crunch time minutes to Jeremy Lin last game, even as Lin finished 2-of-12 from the field.
This matchup figures to be another dud on the floor, but one that could provide significant intrigue in the lottery standings. Enjoy the game, and see if the Lakers can gift-wrap their opponent another win as they inch toward a top-5 pick.
Time: 4 p.m. PT