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Preview: Lakers at Orlando Magic

Previewing the Lakers' game against the Magic in Orlando

The Lakers (13-36) visit the reeling Orlando Magic (15-37) on Friday night.

Orlando has lost 10 consecutive games, firing their head coach, Jacque Vaughn, on Thursday and installing James Borrego in the interim. 

Meanwhile, the Lakers have struggled in their own right, losing 11 of their last 12.

The Lakers will play without Jordan Hill (hip), along with Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back), who are all done for the season.

Rookie forward Aaron Gordon (foot) is questionable for the Magic. 

Key matchup

The Magic have one of the better young centers in the league in Nikola Vucevic, who is averaging 19.6 points and 11.3 rebounds a game.

The Lakers could be at a disadvantage without Hill, but they'll try to slow Vucevic with Robert Sacre, Tarik Black and Ed Davis.

Davis collected a career-high 20 rebounds on Wednesday in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Offensively, Carlos Boozer is the team's most reliable scorer at a power position, coming off a 28-point effort against Milwaukee.

X-factor

The Lakers also need to deal with guard Victor Oladipo, who is averaging 16.7 points and 3.7 assists a game, as well as forward Tobias Harris (17.1 points, 6.5 rebounds).

Rookie Elfrid Payton has begun to blossom as the team's point guard, averaging 7.8 points and 5.8 assists.

The Lakers start rookie Jordan Clarkson at the point with mixed results. The Lakers need a strong performance from Jeremy Lin behind Clarkson.  Wesley Johnson may be the best choice against Oladipo, although Wayne Ellington will likely get the first crack.

Outlook

The Lakers truly need to lose on Friday in Orlando, taking into account the 2015 NBA draft lottery.

Perhaps the coaching change will inspire the Magic, but the Lakers have a real shot to win a game they shouldn't.

Email Eric Pincus at Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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