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10 Things to Know: Lakers at Magic (12/23/16)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers complete their road trip against the Orlando Magic.
1) Nick Young has been on a tear lately, averaging 25.3 points over his last three games while scoring at least 20 in each. Swaggy P has been scorching from beyond the arc, leading the NBA in 3-pointers per contest during this stretch (6.0), while hitting 18-of-35 from deep.
2) This game will complete a season-long, 12-day road trip for the Lakers. The purple and gold will try to end this on a high note after winning just one game over the first six contests.
3) The last two games have been especially painful for Los Angeles, which lost to Charlotte and Miami despite reaching 19-point leads in both. While Lou Williams racked up 27 points for the Lakers in South Beach on Thursday, it wasn’t enough to prevent the Heat from outscoring them in the second half, 62-47.
4) The last time these two teams met up, the Lakers’ young core had a big night in Los Angeles. D’Angelo Russell led the way with 27 points while Jordan Clarkson went off for 24. Julius Randle rounded out the trio with 23 points and 11 rebounds, but he flew back to L.A. on Thursday to attend the birth of his first child.
5) More so than any other team in the league, the Magic’s roster is filled with big men. The leader of this pack is new addition Serge Ibaka. Oklahoma City’s all-time leader in blocks has proven his versatility this year by ranking 11th in the league in swats (1.74) while leading Orlando in 3-point percentage (42.2).
6) Despite coming off the bench, USC product Nikola Vucevic ranks 10th in the league in rebounding (10.7 per game). The Switzerland native can fill the bucket, tallying a 20-point double-double in two of his last four games, though he is also last among qualified centers in field goal percentage (44.0).
7) While Ibaka and Vucevic are certainly capable, the Magic’s go-to scorer this year has been Evan Fournier. One of six international players on the roster, the Frenchman has dropped 20-plus points in six of his last seven games, averaging 22.0 on 52.2 percent shooting during this span.
8) Despite the efforts of the aforementioned players, Orlando has struggled offensively, averaging the league’s third-fewest points per game (98.0). However, the Magic have looked like a completely new team lately, putting up 111.4 points over the last two weeks — the league’s fourth-most.
9) Orlando has a new coach pulling the reins, as Frank Vogel takes over after spending the last six years in Indiana. The former Lakers scout led the Pacers to the playoffs five times, including two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals.
10) The Lakers’ coaching staff also has ties to Orlando. Brian Shaw played three seasons for the Magic, including on the 1995 team that reached the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, Jud Buechler finished his 13-year career in Orlando in 2001-02.
Lakers: Julius Randle (personal reasons) and Tarik Black (sprained right ankle) missed Thursday’s game against Miami. Larry Nance Jr. (left knee injury) and Jose Calderon (right hamstring strain) are out.
Magic: Jodie Meeks (personal reasons) missed Thursday’s game against New York.
Tip-off: 4 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
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