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Lakers vs. Magic Preview: The games are getting a little more real

Two teams are going for their first win in the bubble.

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Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers’ upcoming scrimmage isn’t exactly a road game, but the Disney cast members may not make it a hospitable environment.

L.A.’s second scrimmage of the NBA restart comes tomorrow morning against the Orlando Magic, the nominal home team with no homecourt advantage other than a few well-wishers on the way to the game. Both teams are coming off of a loss in their opener, though under slightly different circumstances.

The Lakers only used their true starting lineup in the first half, resting their top three players (yes, I am making the call that Danny Green is No. 3) for the final two periods and willingly conceding the game to Dallas as a result. The Magic, meanwhile, went with the best lineup they had available to start both halves and were trucked by the Clippers.

Orlando has beaten the Lakers once so far this season, in a game that Anthony Davis missed. Markelle Fultz was the star of that game, recording a triple-double and hitting the game-sealing jumper. He is unavailable for this scrimmage, however, after arriving late to the bubble. In his place, the Magic will start D.J. Augustin, along with Evan Fournier, James Ennis III, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Vucevic.

The Lakers will counter with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and JaVale McGee. It’s always interesting watching McGee contend with floor-spacing centers like Vucevic, who has historically done well against the Lakers. That matchup and James/Gordon are among the more interesting, considering L.A.’s season-long struggle to defend physical wings.

Expect Frank Vogel and the Lakers coaching staff to slightly ramp up the minutes today, given that the scrimmage will last a full 48 minutes, though it is unlikely that the team presses for a win at the expense of rest.

There is no update yet on Alex Caruso’s status for this game after he missed the Lakers’ first game with a minor back contusion. That could give the Lakers another opportunity to see what they have in Dion Waiters, and potentially also J.R. Smith, who didn’t get to play with any rotation players other than Dwight Howard in the first scrimmage. The Lakers might get their first look at Markieff Morris as well, now that Morris has been out of quarantine for two days.

And don’t forget to set your alarms tonight, because the Lakers tip off at 9:00 a.m. PST tomorrow on Spectrum SportsNet. The game will also be broadcast nationally on NBA TV.

Notes and Updates

  • Frank Vogel gave some clarity on a few things above during his pregame media availability. He said Alex Caruso will play after sitting out the first game, while Markieff Morris will sit out and prepare to play on Monday against the Washington Wizards.
  • LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the rest of the team will play something closer to normal minutes in a closer-to-normal rotation today, according to Vogel.
  • Vogel also said pregame that he and Magic coach Steve Clifford agreed to both play some zone defense today to help their teams acclimate to it.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @sabreenajm.

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