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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lakers-Magic Preview - 20-Dec-08

Lakers (21-4) at Magic (20-6), 20-Dec-08, 7:00pm ET

This is the first meeting between the Lakers and Orlando Magic this season. Their record last season was 1-1 beating the other team on the road. They first met at Staples Center on December 2, 2007. Magic won 104-97. Kobe Bryant had 28 points on 10-26 shooting, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Lamar Odom had 19 points and 17 rebounds. Andrew Bynum had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 7 block shots. Pau Gasol was still playing for Memphis during that time.

Rashard Lewis led five Magic players in double-figures with 18 points. Dwight Howard had 17 points and 8 boards. Hedo Turkoglu scored 14 points and collected 10 rebounds.

Their second meeting was on February 8, 2008 in Orlando. Lakers won 117-113. Bryant scored 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. Gasol, on his third game on a Laker uniform, torched the Magic with 30 points on 12-15 field goal shooting and 9 rebounds. Odom went 5-5 from the field, 2-2 on the 3pt line, for 12 points with 6 boards. Bynum was on the injured list during that time.

Howard was 8-8 from the field for 19 points and collected 11 rebounds but played for only 29 minutes due to foul troubles. Their starting point guard, Jameer Nelson had 17 points and 9 assists. Lewis and Turkoglu added 16 points each.

Orlando has an 8-2 record the last 10 games. They lost to Boston and Phoenix and beat the Clippers, Portland, Utah and Golden State on the road. They beat Minnesota, Oklahoma City, and in their last game, San Antonio at home.

Keys to the game:

  • With his teammates struggling, Kobe Bryant should continue to be more aggressive.
  • Pau Gasol should be more assertive in his offense. In their loss to Miami last night, he took only 10 shots and made 5 scoring just 13 points. He is a better offensive player than Dwight Howard and he should take advantage of that.
  • Lamar Odom should play the way he was playing last year. He looks very confused in his role which maybe attributed to him coming off the bench.
  • Andrew Bynum should avoid getting into early foul troubles. His contributions would be critical in a close game providing defense on Dwight Howard.
  • Phil Jackson should consider having Andrew Bynum come off the bench to avoid getting him in early foul troubles. Odom should start with Kobe and Gasol at center--their lethal combination last year. Odom can't lead their second unit. He should put Kobe to provide leadership to their bench mob as he seems to be the only player in this team that Sasha Vujacic listens to.

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