NBA Picks and Predictions: Los Angeles Lakers at Orlando Magic

Jameer-Nelson-magicLA Lakers at Orlando Magic
Time: 7 PM ET, Jan 24, 2014
Spread: ORL -1.5
Total: 210

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The Orlando Magic have not been favorites too often this year, but hosting an injury riddled team may be just the prescription for a team that has lost 12 of its past 13 games. The 11-32 Magic will still find itself 1.5-point favorites according to NBA oddsmakers at Bovada, over the beat up L.A. Lakers in NBA action Friday night.

The Lakers have been one of the league’s most porous defenses, allowing 114.5 points per game over its last 10 games. The Lakers have been out-rebounded over that stretch by 8.4 rebounds per game, too. For a team without its best scorer, the other facets of the game should ideally be what keep the Lakers in contests.

Pau Gasol cited communication problems, saying “we really have to be better at communicating and get each other going and letting each other know where we’re at.” Typically, the best defensive teams are vocal, and the Lakers have not been.

Offensively, Gasol and guard Jodie Meeks are giving the Lakers what it needs. Gasol is averaging 22 points per game over his past six contests and Meeks is averaging 18.5 points over his past 10 games. Meeks earned high praise at Kentucky for posting a 50 point game, and the one thing he is certain to be able to do is shoot the ball and score.

But the Lakers can’t be competitive against good teams until Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Xavier Henry return. The team lacks the depth necessary to shed someone like Kobe and still be competitive, and the problem now is that the Lakers are falling too far out of the competitive Western Conference playoff picture.

Orlando never expected to be a part of any playoff picture, and it is not. The Magic possess the league’s second-worst record. The offense has been erratic, and sporadic, with center Nikola Vucevic taking a long time to recover from a concussion. Victor Oladipo is the real deal and has impressed in stretches, but he definitely still makes as many rookie mistakes as the next first year guy.

Tobias Harris has failed to build on the momentum that he finished 2012-13 with, and the Magic are trying to figure out if he has a natural position on the court, or how to get the weight on Harris necessary to combat power forwards. The Magic will look to excite the home fans with a win, but even if the team can’t win as favored to, one more loss only further helps the ping pong ball cause in June.

Lakers Trends: 5-0 ATS in last 5 road games; OVER 6-0 in last 6 after allowing 100 or more in previous game; 6-0 ATS in last 6 road games vs teams with losing home records.

Magic Trends: 1-6 ATS in last 7 Friday games; OVER 6-1 in last 7 home games vs teams with winning percentages less than .400; Magic 2-9 ATS in last 11 games on 1 days rest.

Head-to-head: UNDER 6-0 in last 6 meetings in Orlando; UNDER 8-1 in last 9 meetings; Lakers 8-3 in last 11 meetings in Orlando.

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