Lakers take on Magic at home in second game of back-to-back

The Lakers hope to erase Sunday night's loss in Sacramento.

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers might be tired but there’s no rest for the weary.

After an exhausting Sunday night contest that went overtime in Sacramento, the Lakers have a quick turnaround as they’re back at Crypto Dot Com for a Monday night game against the 2-0 Orlando Magic.

The Magic are young (for the exception of the eternal Joe Ingles). But they sure are talented. Last year’s Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero comes to mind. There’s also Franz Wagner, who has been so consistent for Orlando in his few years there. Cole Anthony recently got re-upped (that’s a contract extension, guys) and he’s been a sparkplug off the bench. Wendell Carter, Jr. has been their man in the middle. And their starting backcourt has gotten healthy: we know what Markelle Fultz has been through. Jalen Suggs gives them a defensive boost.

What’s kind of funny is that this youthful team is last in pace (number of possessions in a game). But slowing down the game has paid off for them as they played excellent defense on both games; they’re currently ranked third in defensive rating. Head coach Jamahl Mosley seems to be going for a methodical game here. We’ll see if they can sustain that for the season.

The Lakers swept their season series last year. They won comfortably in Orlando in their first game, holding Banchero to a season-low four points. Then for the second game in Los Angeles, the Lakers needed a career night from Austin Reaves (35 points!) to defeat the Magic. So the Lakers have had their number and they hope to continue it on Monday.

As for what the Lakers did on Sunday against Sacramento, they had enough points to defeat most teams. But their defense is what they need to work on. The Lakers need to be more physical and they cannot give opponents a lot of space. They also seem to bite on some fakes; they cannot jump and get out of position defensively. Second chance points continue to be a concern as well.

We’ll also see how Darvin Ham handles his rotation here. I wasn’t a big fan of how he did it on Sunday. And there’s no word yet on whether LeBron James and Anthony Davis are going to play after getting a ton of minutes in Sacramento. But we know the NBA is trying to be stricter about stars sitting out so we’ll see.

Will the Lakers hand Orlando their first loss of the season? They’d better or the Lakers will fall to 1-3. I’m sure the fans have had enough of the Lakers starting the campaign in an atrocious manner.