Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Magic

Darius Soriano —  March 23, 2014

There is really no way to spruce up a game like the one that will occur tonight. When the Orlando Magic come into Staples Center tonight to face the Lakers, two of the worst teams in the league will be facing off.

The Lakers now boast the 4th worst record in the entire league. Read that sentence again. If they hope to avoid the worst season in franchise history they need to win nine of their last 14 games. Considering they are 3-7 in their last 10 games, I am not optimistic this will occur. And while the team continues to play hard, they do not play smart or together defensively. I don’t want to undersell the former point, but if you are looking for why this team continues to lose it are those latter points that mean more. As the great John Wooden said, do not mistake activity for achievement.

The Magic, meanwhile, boast the league’s third worst record and are one of only three teams to not yet even win 20 games this year. They are a roster of mostly young players and are still trying to recover from the departure of Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy two seasons ago. They have some nice pieces, but do not know how to channel that talent, often experimenting with lineups and trying sort out what positions maximize their players’ production.

In a way, Orlando represents an interesting look at what the Lakers hope to try to emulate while not replicating the results. With prospects like Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and Mo Harkless the Magic possess a core of young players who, if they reach their respective ceilings, can be a nice core of contributors for a competitive team. That said, it takes time for young players to maximize their potential and without high performing veterans to serve as mentors and provide a baseline of production for a successful record the team as a whole flounders. In the coming seasons, then, the Lakers will try to acquire young assets like the Magic possess but try pair that talent with the types of high quality veterans that can keep the team among the ranks of the competitive.

That’s down the line, however. Tonight, this game is probably most important because of how it affects lottery positioning. As mentioned, the Lakers have the 4th worst record, but a win would put them back into 7th place by percentage points. I don’t root for losses, but it is wise to understand how each game affects the outlook of the draft through the lottery process.

If you do root for losses, though, one thing that will be in your favor is that the Lakers will again be a bit short handed tonight. Xavier Henry had an MRI on the wrist he injured on Friday and it revealed a torn ligament. He has been ruled out of this game and will be reevaluated on Tuesday. And, after having a nice return to action against the Wizards, Steve Nash is a game time decision after tweaking his hamstring (which is a symptom of the nerve root irritation he’s dealing with). At this point, I think it is doubtful Nash gives it a go all things considered.

The flip-side of this, however, is that the Magic also have plenty of variables against them tonight. Jameer Nelson is doubtful to play. The Magic are also on the 2nd night of a back to back, playing last night in Utah (a game they lost). This game also marks the final contest in a 4 game west coast road trip, which should only contribute further to whatever dragging feeling the team may have already.

In summary, rather than thinking about why either team would win this game it is much easier to give reasons why they will lose. Thank goodness there are only 14 games left in this season.

Darius Soriano

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67 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Magic

  1. Very honest and realistic game preview.

  2. Huge game tonight for the Lakers- even if it may not be very entertaining. Although I don’t wish injury on any player, much less a young guy like Embiid, I think that this is a blessing in disguise for the Lakers. When a guy as highly touted as Embiid starts having injury issues, it makes all the other players start thinking about their “mortality” as it were. Parker may have thought about sticking around for another year, but I think he will declare for the draft. So will Embiid. That makes 4 potentially franchise players in Embiid, Wiggins, Parker, and Exum that should be available. If the Lakers can just dodge a few more wins, then we really have a chance! My choice would be Wiggins, with Exum coming in at #2. Embiid’s back condition really worries me and Parker may be a dreaded “tweener” in the NBA. He could absolutely flourish in a D’Antoni system though…no defense and small-ball 4. :/

    Yeah. I’m rooting for a loss. Tough break for Henry. The injury gods truly hate the Lakers over the last two years.

  3. Tonight
    Play Brooks and Marshall 48 each and take 25 shots each.

    Play Kelly at center.

    DNPs for Hill and Kamen.

    Take at least 40 3 pointers

    Remind players at half time they are playing for contracts in Europe.

    We should be fine tonight.

  4. Haha, reality can be like a cold, hard slap in the face. Since we all know what is logically the best way for this game to end for those of us looking more towards the future than present…don’t be surprised when the Lakers blow out the Magic this evening :-(.

  5. The NCAA tournament is not being very kind to the NBA superstars in waiting. Are these players really worth all the losing?

  6. Aside from Carmelo Anthony… Which of today’s superstars has won a tile.

  7. darius: to your statement: The Lakers now boast the 4th worst record in the entire league.

    thanks for keeping count.

    the beauty in jeanie buss, aside from the beauty is that she listens and attends to laker nation concerns. not so much to say she can be manipulated; swayed with intelligence and humor would be a safe bet.

    we seemingly have an abundace of both here at fb&g. and, compliments go a long way too.

    Go lakers

  8. Baylor Fan,

    Great point. Very young guys look shaky with the spotlight on them. Guess we will hope and draft for potential. Whoever is drafted sure will face an interesting situation. Lakers will have to hope the rookie has the mindset of Davis down in New Orleans.

  9. I was posting from my cell phone before in response to Baylor Fan…It should have read-
    Aside from Carmelo Anthony, which current NBA superstars won an NCAA title?

  10. Win or lose, a future superstar should be “the man” for their team. These guys are making a strong case for staying in school another year.

    The games have been a lot of fun so far and it is great to see senior led teams do well.

  11. Draft: It is over-rated. We obviously want the highest pick, but nobody close to Ewing, Shaq, or LeBron in this thing.
    rr: Yes – we do not know what would have happened so I should preface with IMO more often. : ) That said we do know what has happened. Sticking to facts and results makes any cases for MD and Jim much much weaker. The entire case in their favor is based on woulda coulda shoulda and of course give it a few more years. What do you want me to say : ) Since I have been pounding on both of them for 2 years (3 in Jim’s case), I guess I could just say. Let’s review the results : )

  12. Why do I love Jeannie Buss and not Jim? They are both Lakers for life? They both power the blue and gold. Aw heck, I love ‘em both.

    GOOOooooOOOO LAKERS!!!!

  13. I wish we had multiple picks – watchimg the tourney it really does look like a deep draft – kane from iowa state, randle looked good, wiggins older brother looked good, Early on witchita state was awesome, mcdermott looks like a better korver .. pheonix is gonna hit big on one of their picks

  14. #14games2go

  15. Quick point on the draft… Yes… The odds are against getting a future superstar player. But the important thing is drafting well the next few wars so when Durant and other young stars are available the lakers are an attractive place for them to join forces. But remember… It also can happen you can lunch into a superstar player in the top part of the draft. That’s typically where the greatest players are picked when they do randomly come into the NBA.

  16. Kane is gonna be a harden/wade type guy in the nba – and mcadoo is a better big than embid – embid is gonna be an impke udoh type player

  17. It looks like the Lakers will pick somewhere in the 3-6 range. Does it really matter that much – 3, 4, 5, or 6?

    2013 – compare 3-6 with McLemore #7, Burke #9, Carter-Williams #11
    2012 – picks 3-6 were Beal, Waiters, T.Robinson, Lillard. Who would you rather have?
    2011 – Picks 3-6 were ho-hum, missed were Knight, K. Walker, K. Thompson, the Morris twins, K. Leonard, etc..
    2010 – Minny took Wes Johnson #4. Could have had Cousins #5, Monroe #7, George #10
    2009 – T-wolves picked Jonny Flynn #6. Could have had Steph Curry #7
    2008 – OJ Mayo #3. Westbrook #4, Love #5
    2007 – Celtics took Jeff Green #5. Bucks got Jianlian #6. Noah was #9

    I was thinking 2007, and looked these up. Of course, Portland picked Oden #1, instead of Durant #2. I wonder if Blazers fans were putting all their hopes on the lottery the previous season. They got everything they wanted. Except the right pick.

  18. Looks like UCLA will make the Round of 16, barring an epic meltdown. Unfortunately, if they get there, they have to play Florida.

  19. @Robert some people are waiting for the next Kobe or Magic in the draft, i be happy if we get the next AC Green, thats my expectation from whoever we pick.

  20. Im not watching this game the potential from watching a really putrid level of basketball could make me pop a vein in the brain. Not risking it, No Sireee…

  21. I’m getting more and more intrigued about Randle. I actually think that he should be considered for the top pick…

  22. Fern

    I will help you out.

    Kamen will go scoreless
    Brooks will go scoreless
    Marshall will be 1 for 8
    Meeks and Young will shot 40 times.
    The Laker girls will look hot.

    After the game Mike will blame it on bad taco’s.

    Thank You

  23. Lakers are do bad they can’t even play bad!

    Sigh

  24. Nice to hear that Drew Gooden got fined 15 grand by the league for his antics on Friday night. He could have really hurt Nick Young with that move he made.

  25. Watching the NCAA, IMO Wiggins and Parker need to stay in school another year. They’re not difference makers on a pro team at this point.

  26. I will help you out.

    Kamen will go scoreless
    Brooks will go scoreless
    Marshall will be 1 for 8
    Meeks and Young will shot 40 times.
    The Laker girls will look hot.

    After the game Mike will blame it on bad taco’s.

    Thank You
    ___
    LOL !!!

  27. Instead of playing in Europe next year, Marshall could be playing on the moon.

  28. Perhaps you can bring in Hill and remove Rob Brick now.?

  29. try watching the remainder of the laker game without sound and try a little of tis:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8vbwshAD40&list=PLbpi6ZahtOH6G8SJ44P-lok4-Kqv1-8Fx

    Go Lakers

  30. Only three guys I want here next year.

    Young
    Meeks
    Hill

  31. hey darius: still boasting the 4th worst record in the nba? stale tacos anyone?

    Happy Now??

    Go lakers

  32. Things we learned tonight-
    1-Jordan Hill played more than 30 minutes and didn’t turn into a pumpkin.
    2- Either the Lakers are better than the Magic or the Magic are better at tanking?

  33. Ken

    Also that even with Pau out Kamen still zip.

    What’s the over under Chris knocks out Mike before seasons over?

  34. Ko
    I’d buy a ticket to watch that!

  35. ko: your list is gettng shorter and shorter.

    by season’s end, the only guys you want here next year; ….. period.

    Go lakers

  36. Come on, Mike, give it up. Hill was fantastic.

  37. Hill was fantastic.
    ___
    ain´t it the truth!

  38. rfen,

    Jordan Hill had 28 pts. on 9-15 shooting, 10-13 FTs, 13 rebounds (4 offensive), 1 block, and now has 27 rebounds and 5 blocks in the last 2 games. Tonight he played 32:58 and was clearly the best player on the court. Without him the Lakers would not have won. So what.

    Now…that Kent Basemore. He was something.

  39. Nice to see a game played hard… And resulted to a win. Magic are just an atrocious team right now but their future looks so bright.

  40. Breaking news

    Pau told that MD is signing a new 3 year contact at halftime and he got so sick he in now in the hospital.

  41. Do you all think we might be able to get Coach Nick from BBallBreakdown? He knows everything and might be able to make us contenders.

    GOOOoooOOOOOOO LAKERS ! !!!!!!!

  42. Wow sounds like Pau was really sick. Went to hospital in ambulance. Sorry about that.

  43. Cleveland 27-44
    Detroit 25-44
    Sacramento 25-45
    Lakers 23-46
    Boston 23-47
    Utah 23-47

    The team that finishes with the worst record in this group will end up with the 4th-worst record in the NBA and can pick no lower than 7th. It is pretty much certain at this point that the three worst records in the league will belong to Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Orlando.

    ___

    Taking nothing away from Hill’s performance, which was excellent, I will say again, as I did last time when something similar happened, that I don’t see why MDA thought this would be a good night to start Hill and let him go 33 minutes given the way Hill has been used all season, even accounting for Pau’s illness.

    Embiid said that he has not decided whether he is coming out.

  44. Good game by Hill, the problem with him is that he cant sustain it, lets not forget this was against the Magic a team so bad that could not break 100 points against our puke inducing D. Good thing i didnt watched this game, didnt had the stomach for it..

  45. Agreed Fern. Hill is better than what MDA thinks he is but he’s not this good. Like I said before, sometimes people have an off night and sometimes they have a good night. In a bad night the player may have less minutes than usual and in a good night he will have more minutes than usual.

    So, if Hill was averaging 25 minutes per game, it would be normal to see him play 12-14 if he had a bad night and 32-36 if he was playing really well and nobody would question the minutes allocated to him.

  46. Ko,

    To me, the list is (if their contracts are reasonable):

    Pau, Farmar, Meeks, Young, Hill. Add Kobe and Nash (if he plays) and you have the veterans. Surround them with young legs and the team could be a playoff team.

    For Johnson and Kelly the jury is still out, specially because I believe they can improve and be the 9th/10th man in the rotation. Bazemore and Henry would depend on who we draft. If we draft a big, then there’s room for one. If we draft Exum, then I think there’s no need to keep them.

  47. And sorry for the triple post but I really think that if Randle is available, he’s the one we should pick. Rebounding translates very well from college to the NBA and he’ll get stronger.

  48. I think Young is gone he is going to het paid same as Meeks and Farmar breakd to easily if he accepts another vet min contract welcome aboard. We need players that stay healthy next season. Of those 3 players i would looove to keep Young and Meeks but i find it very unlikely, saddens me to say that they are not worth wasting 10 million of cap space to keep both of them.

  49. If we could keep both for 5 or 6 I would be on board with signing them. If they go for 10 then they shouldn’t be kept. Regarding Farmar, I think that something in the 2 or 3M range is also reasonable…

  50. And my pipe dream… Shaun Livingston. I just love his game, despite the lack of outside shooting. But I guess he’ll get his pay somewhere else.

  51. @Renato
    Yeah it would be great if we had a guy that could rebound on this team. MDA could really use a PF type player that rebounds and plays hard.

  52. If Hill and Kamen had crew cuts and mustaches they would play 35 minutes a game.

  53. 13 games left.

    In addition to the draft watch
    We also have the Ko Winewatch!

    If we go 3-10 that puts us at 26 wins
    That should net us a top-6 pick
    And me a case of wine to enjoy it with!

    ;-)

  54. How much shorter does Kaman’s hair need to be?
    He’s bald!

  55. My keepers for next year:

    Kobe (obviously)
    Nash (if he’s in one piece)
    Farmar
    Gasol
    Jordan Hill
    Nick Young
    Xavier Henry
    Meeks (but we probably won’t be able to afford him)

    On the bubble:
    Bazemore
    Wes Johnson
    Ryan Kelly

    Additions:
    1st-round draft pick (Julius Randle, anyone?)
    Omer Asik
    A point guard other than K. Marshall
    A big, mean power forward who rebounds (any suggestions?)

    A bench with Nick Young, Jordan Hill, and Xavier Henry could be very formidable. If Farmar doesn’t start but comes off the bench, then that could be one of the top benches in the league.

  56. Parrothead Phil March 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Good News on the scheduling front for those on Team Tank™:
    I see at most 5 wins the rest of the season, but more likely the Lakers will only win 1 of those.
    Thurs 3/27 @ MIL- win
    Fri 3/28 @MIN- 2nd of B2B likely loss
    Wed 4/2 @SAC -2nd of B2B likely loss
    Mon 4/14 @UTA- 2nd of B2B likely loss
    Wed 4/16 @SAS- likely loss (although SAS will prob only suit 5 players for game making game a possible win)

  57. Warren Wee Lim March 24, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Since we’ve already been talking about next year’s team and who’s possibly in it without being too speculative, this is my assessment:

    Jordan Farmar – 3.0
    Kobe Bryant – 23.5M
    Draftee – 3.5M
    Steve Nash – 9.7M (traded to another team, retires)
    Salary Absorbed – 4.3M (due to the trade I predict will happen)
    Wesley Johnson – 3.0
    Jordan Hill – 6.0
    Kendall Marshall – 0.7
    Xavier Henry – 1.0
    Jodie Meeks – 3.0
    Nick Young – 4.0
    Kent Bazemore – 1.0
    Ryan Kelly – 1.0
    Robert Sacre – 0.9

  58. @Mid-Wishire
    Does your list include MDA? Because there’s no way that list is remotely possible if it does…

  59. Ken-Oak,

    Good eye. You’re right. If D’Antoni stays, my list blows up. If he’s gone, we’ll be OK.

  60. Asik isn’t possible. He has that poison pill contract which makes him almost untradeable…

  61. darius: if we can believe this; here’s another latest on the fate of interim coach d’antoni:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2003709-ric-buchers-nba-inside-buzz-kobe-bryants-role-in-lakers-coaching-decision

    Go lakers

  62. this just in from serena winters:

    “Mike D’Antoni says if Pau Gasol is unable to go Tuesday, we might see Chris Kaman staring”.

    that’s just perfect; staring, not starting.

    Go lakers

  63. I bet Coach Nick would be willing to coach the Lakers for a mere $1 million a year.

    If long hair, ala Jordan Hill, slows players down even a 10th of a second in a jumper or makes them tired 30 seconds earlier a game, they should cut it. Having a stylish impediment shows you put your looks in front of the team. SHAVE IT ala Jordan / Kobe.

    GOOOooooOOOOOO LAKERS !!!!

  64. Great Warren. Now you have a 30 win team next year.

    No thanks.

  65. Warren Wee Lim March 24, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Ko,

    Atleast we’re just going to hear more of your complaining. Not a dull moment there.

  66. In life if you allow or except bad then nothing changes.

    I expect that 50% of the current players will not be back next year.

    Lakers must change the worst record in their long history.

  67. Warren Wee Lim March 25, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I really had to read it more times than I had to coz except was written instead of “accept” …

    Kobe is the biggest factor. If you think him being healthy is still sporting “same team” then we can never see eye to eye.