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Preview: Lakers vs. Magic

December 02, 2012|By Eric Pincus

Dwight Howard and the Lakers (8-8) will host the Orlando Magic (5-10) on Sunday night.  The game at Staples Center will be Howard's first battle against the team that drafted him.

Howard spent eight years in Orlando, advancing to the NBA Finals in 2009 in a losing effort against the Lakers.

The Magic are led by Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo, both averaging nearly 15 points a game.  It's a rebuilding year for Orlando, which is coming into Los Angeles with a three-game losing streak.

Key Matchup

Afflalo is a strong perimeter defender with experience guarding Kobe Bryant. On Friday night, against the Denver Nuggets and Andre Iguodala, Bryant shot only five of 15 from the field for 14 points.

Of course, Bryant's teammates were on fire and the Lakers star dished eight assists in a relatively easy win. If Afflalo can slow Bryant enough, then it becomes a matter of the Magic doing a much better job than Denver on the rest of the Lakers.

X-factor

Now that it's clear Antawn Jamison is capable of scoring 33 points and collecting 12 rebounds, he's quite the wild card for the Lakers. The team needs consistency from Jamison, who has averaged 17.8 points a game over the last four (including a three-point let down against the Indiana Pacers).

E'Twaun Moore has been a pleasant surprise for the Magic, both as a scorer and playmaker.  Orlando can struggle for points, but a big night from Moore would help.

Outlook

Josh McRoberts makes his return to Staples Center after a year with the Lakers.  The reunion won't quite be on the scale of Howard vs. the Magic.

The Lakers should be able to climb back over .500.  If they don't, it'll be considered quite a setback.

ALSO:

Kobe Bryant calls Andre Iguodala 'Pippenesque'

Antawn Jamison getting comfortable with Lakers

Pau Gasol's minutes in decline since Mike D'Antoni took over

You can email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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