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Lakers vs. Magic Preview: Not a must-win, but close to it

Can the Lakers stop their free fall from the standings.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA Playoffs start in less than a month and the Los Angeles Lakers are still in the process of figuring things out: with injuries, their team chemistry and their rotations. All the while, they’re to avoid falling into one of the dreaded play-in spots.

The Lakers lost some ground in the standings with back-to-back losses to the Dallas Mavericks, but they have a chance to bounce back against the Orlando Magic on Monday.

The Magic, who traded All-Star center Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline, are in the midst of a five-game losing streak. The Lakers have a losing streak of their own going but, unlike the Mavericks, there isn’t a player on the Magic that can give them any real trouble. Sorry, Dwayne Bacon.

It’s hard to call any regular season game a must-win for the Lakers knowing that LeBron James will likely be back for the postseason and make all of the points about the team’s struggles moot, but there’s no denying that a loss to the Magic would put Los Angeles in a less-than-ideal situation when it comes to seeding.

There are three games separating the No. 5 seed Lakers from the No. 7 seed Portland Trail Blazers, but there are just 1.5 games separating the Lakers from the No. 6 seed Mavericks. Finishing at the No. 6 seed would almost guarantee that they play the Utah Jazz, LA Clippers or Phoenix Suns in the first round.

Again, it might not matter because of the talent of the Lakers’ superstar duo, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The Lakers and Magic will tip-off at 4:00 p.m. PT and the game will be broadcast on Spectrum SportsNet.

Notes and Updates

  • LeBron James (right ankle sprain) and Jared Dudley (right MCL tear) are out.
  • Dennis Schröder (left calf soreness) is questionable.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right ankle sprain), Anthony Davis (right calf strain) and Marc Gasol (volar plate fracture, left pinkie finger) are probable.

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 @RadRivas.

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