(Anna Lupean/Los Angeles Lakers)
3 Things to Know: Lakers at Magic (12/11/19)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers tip off their road trip against the Orlando Magic.
1) What will the POTW do for an encore?
Anthony Davis went into legend mode the last time the Lakers hit the hardwood, unloading a 50-point performance on Minnesota. The 26-year-old joined LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as the only Lakers to hit the half-century mark this decade.
The Timberwolves tried multiple defenders on him, and none could match his one-of-a-kind blend of length, speed, strength and footwork. He reached 50 without hitting a 3-pointer, and went a perfect 11-for-11 at the rim.
It was quite the week for AD, who led the Lakers to four straight victories by averaging 35 points on a 63% clip from the field. For his efforts, he was named Western Conference Player of the Week for the second time this year.
"An old school, smash mouth way of getting 50" pic.twitter.com/SyU5IjJ56q— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 9, 2019
2) Dwight’s back
For the only time this season, Dwight Howard will return to the city where he carved out the majority of his Hall of Fame career.
In eight years with the Magic, Howard won three Defensive Player of the Year Awards; became the franchise’s all-time leader in scoring, rebounds and blocks; and led the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals (where they lost to the Lakers). He is arguably the greatest player in franchise history.
Dwight returns while thriving in his new role with the Lakers, leading the team in field goal percentage (74.2) and ranking second in the NBA in blocks off the bench (1.4). That second unit will become even more important, as Avery Bradley is expected to return while Kyle Kuzma is out with an ankle sprain.
Year 34 off to a strong start pic.twitter.com/iksJDM694C— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 9, 2019
3) Orlando will try to end the streak
The Lakers have won 11 straight road matchups heading into this five-game trip. While Orlando won’t have the services of Nikola Vucevic, an all-star last year, it does have the pieces to pull off an upset.
Evan Fournier has been electrifying this season, hitting the NBA’s second-best percentage on jumpers (47.1) while tallying three 30-point performances in his last seven games. Terrence Ross is a similar jump-shooting fire-starter. On the other side, Jonathan Isaac is the only player averaging more blocks (2.9) than AD (2.7).
With the long-armed Isaac setting the tone, Orlando boasts a formidable defense that holds its opponents to the league’s third-fewest points (103.0). The problem is that the offense only scores as much as it gives up, also ranking third from the bottom.
Lakers: Anthony Davis (right shoulder soreness) and Avery Bradley (hairline fracture, right leg) are probable. Rajon Rondo (left hamstring strain) is questionable. Kyle Kuzma (left ankle sprain) and DeMarcus Cousins (rehabilitation, right knee) are out.
Magic: Nikola Vucevic (right ankle lateral sprain) and Al-Farouq Aminu (torn meniscus, right knee) are out.
Tip-Off: 4 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 Tu Liga
Unis: Gold Icon
Location: Amway Center — Orlando, Florida
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