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Lakers vs. Magic Preview: First back-to-back game of the season

The Lakers will have less than 24 hours to recuperate before they face a young and competitive Magic team at home

Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

The Lakers are back at it again on Monday, this time on their home floor where they will take on the Orlando Magic. This is the first time they’re playing a back-to-back this season, which they will do 14 more times after Monday’s match.

Start time and TV schedule

Who: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic

When: 7:30 p.m. PT, Monday, Oct. 30.

Where: Arena

Watch: NBA TV and Spectrum Sportsnet

Back-to-back games are often considered as trap games, especially this early in the season. Interestingly, the Lakers had 12 of those last year and were 6-6 on the second night of a back-to-back. Their first one this season will be against a young and competitive Magic team who will enter Crypto Arena on Monday with an undefeated (2-0) record.

This will be another game where continuity is on the Lakers’ opponent’s side as the Magic’s core — consisting of Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony and Mo Wagner — have looked impressive to start the season. They dominated the Houston Rockets (116-86) in their season opener and then followed that up with a dub on the road against the rebuilding Portland Trail Blazers (102-97), led by Wagner’s 23 points.

That was worth mentioning because there’s a good chance that Orlando will want to keep their momentum going and play even harder against the Lakers. This Magic team is very capable of challenging L.A., especially since their roster is well-constructed with enough depth. It’s early in the season, but they’ve so far been rebounding the ball really well — ranking third best in the league two games in — and playing well defensively.

The Lakers will have to sustain their energy on the defensive end in this one. The Magic have multiple scoring threats like Wagner, Banchero, Fultz and even Anthony, who can all get hot on any given night. The biggest question in this game is if the Lakers will be able to keep up with Orlando — who have had two days of rest — knowing that L.A. barely got 24 hours to recuperate after a tough overtime loss to the Kings the night on Sunday.

Let’s see how the purple and gold will perform in and approach their first game on a back-to-back.

How the Lakers plan to approach this one

There’s no word yet as to who’s going to suit up or sit out in tomorrow’s game. Given that James played 39 minutes versus the Kings on Sunday, it won’t be a surprise if he's once again limited or doesn’t play at all against the Magic.

As for the rest, it would be ideal if the Lakers didn’t start the game the way they did against the Kings. They trailed by as many as 11 in the first half, only to exert all the energy to come back and take the lead in the fourth quarter and then lose in overtime.

What’s also not going to work is if the Lakers’ starting backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves once again combine to shoot 6-25 from the field. Russell stepped up in the fourth quarter and in overtime but Reaves has been struggling since the start of the season. Rui Hachimura and Taurean Prince found their groove, but still, the Lakers could really use more production from their role players.

It’s going to be tough, but the Lakers need to bounce back from their overtime loss on Monday. Let’s see how they respond against the Magic at home.

Notes and Updates:

  • The Lakers and Magic will play each other twice this week. Their next and last game after Monday will take place on Saturday, Nov.4. So unless these two teams meet in the NBA Finals, they’ll be done playing each other this early in the season.
  • The Lakers’ injury report has yet to be released but it’s safe to assume that Jarred Vanderbilt (left heel bursitis) and Jalen Hood-Schifino (right patella contusion) will remain out.
  • As for the Magic, Kevon Harris (knee) is listed as day-to-day, but otherwise their injury report is clear.

You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani

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