Over halfway through an 82-game season, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic have combined for only 28 wins. Entering Friday's contest, Orlando has lost 10 straight games. Somehow, the Lakers still hold a worse record than the Magic.
Even against a team that has lost 10 games in a row and just fired its coach on Thursday, Pinnacle Sports listed the Lakers as three-point underdogs. LA, fourth, ranks ahead of Orlando, fifth, in the race to the bottom.
Two games into their four game road trip, the Lakers have two losses.
First, LA spent the morning of Super Bowl Sunday in the "World's Most Famous Arena" embarrassing themselves in a blowout defeat to the New York Knicks, whom currently hold the second worst record in the NBA.
Watching two of the absolute worst teams playing in one of the least dramatic games of the season before turning over to see, arguably, the most dramatic and perfectly matched game in the history of sports somehow accentuated how great Sunday's Super Bowl truly was.
Second, the Lakers got through 47 minutes and 24 seconds against the Milwaukee Bucks with a six-point lead. In the final 36 seconds of regulation, the Bucks hit two three-pointers, and the two teams played a five-minute overtime period. Unlike a similar breakdown against the Chicago Bulls at the end of regulation only two games earlier, the Lakers could not retake hold of the contest in the extra period. Hence, the Lakers have lost two games in a row.
Next, the Lakers take their road trip to Orlando, and no one truly knows what to expect from a team that has not only lost on the court, but it has also lost on the sidelines. Against the Lakers, Magic assistant coach James Borrego will debut as interim coach for the hosts.
The Lakers and Magic met in Los Angeles nearly four weeks ago, and LA won 104-84 with Lakers rookie Tarik Black finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds in only 17 minutes. On Friday, Black expects to make his second consecutive start, as the Lakers have ruled out starting center Jordan Hill with a hip flexor strain. Hill is traveling with the team, but he does not expect to play for the duration of the road trip.
Considering the next stop will be Cleveland and LeBron James, the Lakers' best chance at getting a victory on their four-game roadie is definitely in Orlando.
The Lakers and Magic will tip 4 p.m. Pacific Time.
Notes: Ronnie Price is listed as probable due to a sore right elbow. Lakers forward Ed Davis revealed he plans to exercise his player option at the end of the season, meaning he will become a free agent after the season.