(Photo By: Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)
Lakers at Magic: 3 Things to Know (1/31/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers continue their road trip against the Orlando Magic.
1) Randle’s putting in work
Julius Randle has thrived in the starting lineup, particularly over the last four games.
During that span, the fourth-year pro is putting up 18.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest, while shooting 55.1 percent from the field.
What has been most impressive about this stretch has been Randle’s blend of power and basketball IQ.
He has simply bullied opposing bigs on the boards, imposing his way to 3.8 offensive rebounds a night.
And he has shown improved instincts for when to give up the ball, averaging 3.5 assists as well.
With some injuries to Orlando’s front court, keep an eye on how quickly the Lakers start going to their young big man.
2) Caruso continues his valuable minutes
As his two-way contract nears its expiration date, Alex Caruso is playing his best ball of the season.
Over the last seven games, the point guard has shot 60.0 percent from the field (18-of-30), while also running the offense for long stretches.
Caruso’s 3.3 assists in 20.7 minutes (during this stretch) might not be eye-popping, but scoring has come much easier for the Lakers with him on the floor — even if it doesn’t net him a dime.
L.A. is 4-3 since he was recalled from the G League, and the Lakers have outscored their opponents by 33 with Caruso on the floor.
Plus, he has shown an affinity for breaking out a highlight slam.
3) Should be a good opportunity to bounce back
After their win streak was snapped in Toronto last time out, the Lakers find themselves in a much friendlier matchup against Orlando.
Following a hot 8-4 start to the season, the Magic have tumbled to a 6-31 record since. They are also among the NBA’s bottom 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, while injuries could hold two of their top scorers — Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic — out of this game.
However, the Lakers would be wise to not underestimate their opponent, as two of their worst games of the season (losses to Phoenix and Sacramento) came when they did just that.
The Magic have some solid pieces, like a sharpshooting Evan Fournier and a much-improved Elfrid Payton. They took Houston down to the final minutes last night, and only fell because James Harden went berserk with the first 60-point triple-double in NBA history.
Lakers: Lonzo Ball (sore left knee) is out.
Magic: Aaron Gordon (strained left hip flexor) is questionable. Nikola Vucevic (fractured second metacarpal, left hand), Jonathan Isaac (sore right ankle) and Terrence Ross (sprained right MCL, non-displaced fracture of right tibial plateau) are out.
Tip-Off: 4 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Gold Icon
Location: Amway Center — Orlando, Florida