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Preview: Lakers hope to end slide in Orlando against Magic

Preview: Lakers hope to end slide in Orlando against Magic
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade is defended by Lakers guard Lou Williams during the second quarter of at game on Nov. 10. (RHONA WISE / EPA)

The Lakers (1-6) hope to avoid a three-game losing streak Wednesday when they visit the Orlando Magic (3-5).

Kobe Bryant missed the Lakers' Tuesday night loss to the Miami Heat with a sore back.  He's questionable in Orlando.

The Magic have a young, talented roster with a new head coach in Scott Skiles.

The Lakers are struggling with a young, talented roster under Coach Byron Scott.

Center Nikola Vucevic and forward Jason Smith are both questionable with knee injuries.

Key matchup

Magic small forward Evan Fournier has been tremendous through his team's eight games, averaging 19.0 points on 47.5% shooting from the field and 38.8% from behind the arc.

The Orlando squad is athletic but badly needed outside shooting, and Fournier has filled that role well.

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If Bryant returns, he needs to stay close to Fournier, while resisting the urge to try and match him from the perimeter.  Bryant is shooting just 20.8% from three-point range.

Metta World Peace would presumably get the start in Bryant's stead.  In addition to his defensive ability, World Peace is shooting an unsustainable 77.8% from three-point range in three appearances.

X-factor

The Magic have a number of scorers including Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Vucevic and Fournier.

Elfrid Payton is a creative point guard with limited range.  Aaron Gordon is a tremendous athlete and utility player.

The Lakers need to match with their own cadre of young players like Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and D'Angelo Russell.  Lou Williams and Nick Young provide scoring off the bench.

Where the Lakers suffer most is on the defensive end.

Outlook

The Lakers badly need a win.  The Magic are vulnerable if Vucevic and Smith don't play, but the Lakers haven't inspired much of any confidence to consider them the favorite.

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

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