Preview: Lakers at Orlando Magic

The Lakers (16-27) near the end of their seven-game road trip with No. 6, a contest against the Orlando Magic (11-32) on Friday.

The Magic have had a worse January than the Lakers, difficult to accomplish given the Lakers so far have just two wins in 2014.


Orlando's lone victory of the year thus far came Tuesday in Boston. The team clearly misses center Nikola Vucevic, out since suffering a concussion in a loss to the Clippers.

The Lakers lost on Thursday night in Miami. They'll play again without Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (back) and Steve Blake (elbow), Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Xavier Henry (knee).


Key matchup

Former UCLA guard Arron Afflalo is averaging 20.2 points a game this season, shooting 46.5% from the field and 42.3% from three-point range.

Afflalo came into the league as a strong defender but has emerged as one of its top scoring guards.

The Lakers rely on Nick Young, coming off the bench, for offense.  Young is averaging a team-high 17.1 points per game.


Afflalo plays 37.3 minutes a night, while Young gets his scoring done in 28.8 a game.


Orlando has a number of available double-digit scorers, including Victor Oladipo, Glen Davis, Jameer Nelson and Tobias Harris.

Without Vucevic, the Magic will need a strong performance from Glen Davis, who averages 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds a night.

After recovering from a number of ailments (bronchitis, sinus infection, toe injury, sprained ankle, etc.), Pau Gasol has returned to form as one of the top offensive centers in the league.

Gasol scored 22 points with 11 rebounds against the Heat on Thursday, but in what has been the case in recent weeks, the Lakers aren't often able to ride his production to victory.

The team's bigger struggle has been on the defensive side of the ball.



From the perspective that the Lakers and Magic aren't likely to make the playoffs, the team that loses likely betters their draft position.

Regardless, it's going to be hard for the Lakers to "catch" the Magic, who have just 11 wins on the season to the Lakers' 16.


Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.