The last time the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers went to the NBA Finals it was against each other, but both teams have fallen on hard times since that matchup in 2009.
The Magis and Lakers have looked forward to the lottery more than the playoffs as of late, but those years of poor performance have led to some exciting young talent on both sides. Though Lakers' rookie point guard Lonzo Ball and Magic power forward Aaron Gordon, possibly the most promising players in the matchup, have been ruled out, there will be plenty of developing players to look out for.
For the Lakers, it's been the year of Kyle Kuzma, who is leading the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game. For the Magic, who will take the court without Gordon, as well as center Nikola Vucevic, swingman Evan Fournier will be asked to carry more of the offensive burden.
The Lakers have one of the more interesting profiles in the league, as they are first in pace, but last in three-point percentage. L.A. can get to the charity stripe, but often struggle once they get there as they are No. 10 in free throw attempts, but last in free throw percentage. The Lakers are also No. 25 in turnovers. What that amounts to is a lot of empty possessions.
The Magic have been equally sporadic, with a roster that has never truly been healthy. Without Gordon, they will need to focus on rebounding – where they are No. 26 in the league – and combatting the Lakers' length around the rim.
Line: L.A. -2.5
Orlando — Aaron Gordon (Hip) – OUT; Nikola Vucevic (Hand) – OUT; Terrence Ross (Knee) – OUT; Jonathan Isaac (Ankle) – OUT;
L.A. — Lonzo Ball (Knee) – OUT