ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic hosts one of its marquee matchups of the year tonight with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers coming to town.
To learn more about the Lakers’ current state of affairs, we spoke with All Lakers contributors Alex Kirschenbaum and Noah Camras ahead of the game.
1. The Lakers have struggled as of late, dropping their last four games. Anthony Davis’ absence is a big reason why, but what else has contributed to the team’s losing streak?
Kirschenbaum: The Lakers are pretty bad everywhere, but their biggest weakness is on the perimeter. They lack sizable defenders on the wing to prevent opposing teams from taking as many threes as they want, and they also don’t have enough elite three-point shooters to appropriately respond on the other end. The Magic have plenty of big wings (6’9″ small forward Franz Wagner, 6’6″ swingman Terrence Ross) that should give LA trouble on both ends.
2. Which player from the Lakers has surprised you the most this season?
Camras: Austin Reaves has been truly unbelievable this season, and has climbed the ranks as the Lakers’ clear third-best player after LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He plays with such an effortless style, while at the same time clearly going 100% on both ends of the floor. He’s been a good scorer, a clutch shooter and a really solid defender. He’s been everything the Lakers have needed and more.
3. What’s one thing people should know about the Lakers that cannot be found in a box score?
Kirschenbaum: This Anthony Davis-free Lakers team seems to get along pretty well on the bench and off the court. On the court, their chemistry is pretty lacking.
4. If the Lakers win tonight, what would be the reason?
Camras: They knock down their open threes, they play some sort of defense (it would be nice to hold Orlando under 120) and someone else besides LeBron steps up.
5. What’s your prediction for tonight’s game?
Camras: 121-114 Lakers
Cherry Tree: Magic by 10.
You can follow Jeremy Brener on Twitter @JeremyBrener.
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