The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Orlando Magic on Sunday evening at Staples Center.
The Lakers have lost four of the last five games and seven of the last eight, but their opposition on Sunday, the Orlando Magic, enters the contest with eight straight losses. The Lakers are on pace for the worst season in Los Angeles Lakers history, but Orlando is still worse.
After 68 games, the Lakers have 22 wins. After 70 games, Orlando has 19 wins. One of those 19 wins, however, came against the Lakers.
In line with how this season has gone for LA, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni spent a significant chunk of time talking about injuries at the morning shootaround on Sunday. Steve Nash, who looked spectacular during Friday night’s loss, was “doubtful” for Sunday night.
Also, an MRI on Xavier Henry’s left wrist revealed a torn ligament. Henry will sit out Sunday’s game, but D’Antoni said the player was optimistic about playing on Tuesday. The explosive guard is set to be examined on Monday before any official timeline for a return is set.
Even before the injuries became official, D’Antoni opted to try a new lineup. Jordan Hill will replace Robert Sacre in the front court alongside Pau Gasol. Also, Wesley Johnson, who was out sick on Friday, returns to the starting five. Jodie Meeks and Kendall Marshall will start in the back court.
With only one point guard on the roster, Marshall, Meeks and Kent Bazemore will share backup duties on Sunday night. Earlier in the season, Henry played significant time as a backup point guard, so his absence will be felt against the Magic.
Sunday night’s game does not promise good basketball or star power, but it does mean something to the lottery chase. Entering the game, the Magic and Lakers are third and fourth in the NBA draft lottery standings. A loss for the Lakers would bring them within two wins of the Magic in the wins column.
As a reminder, the Lakers are not tanking, so they are not actively trying to lose. However, a loss would not hurt at this point. For those counting at home, the Lakers have 14 games and three and a half weeks remaining in the season.
Tip-off for the Magic versus the Lakers is 6:30 pm Pacific Time.