Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic are 1-point home favorites over the NBAs defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers.Â The over/under for the game is set at 195.
Orlando had won two games in a row after beating Philly Wednesday night 99-95. But since winning nine in a row just after Christmas, the Magic are only 9-8, and enter Sundays match up coming off a 99-93 loss to the anemic New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.Â The Magic erased a nine-point halftime deficit, but came up short down the stretch thanks to a slew of late turnovers. Dwight Howard led the way for Orlando with 20 points and 17 rebounds, and Hedo Turkoglu added 16. J.J. Redick and Earl Clark both added 14 off the bench. The Magic have fallen behind by a Â½ game to Atlanta, and now sit fifth place in the East, six games behind conference-leading Miami who will have already faced the Celtics by game time on Sunday. A win here could be huge in gaining ground on the conference leaders.
As for Los Angeles, they lead the Pacific Division by 11 games over second-place Phoenix after winning in Boston on Thursday night, and then destroying the struggling Knicks on Friday, 113-96. Kobe Bryant scored 33 points, 19 in the first quarter, while Pau Gasol added 20 points for the Lakers, who beat New York for the eighth straight time overall and fifth in a row at the Garden.Â But if the Lakers are going to win the West for the fourth season in a row, they may have to do it without home-court advantage, because they now trail San Antonio by 7.5 games for the top spot in the conference. Therefore, needless to say, a win at Orlando will go a long way.
This is the first meeting this season between LA and Orlando. Last year, the teams split their two games, the Magic winning 96-94 and the Lakers winning 98-92.Â I expect another close game, with the Lakers prevailing in this one.Â They are in much better form recently and seem to have found their confidence.Â Ill take the Lakers plus the 1-point in Orlando today.
Los Angeles Lakers +1 Orlando Magic