Orlando Magic vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction: LeBron James Leads Lakers Into Orlando

The Lakers' backs are against the wall. Will they finally respond? Plus, the Clippers get a ticket to the Joel Embiid show. NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his predictions and picks for Friday night.
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Orlando Magic vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction: LeBron James Leads Lakers Into Orlando

Orlando Magic vs. Los Angeles Lakers Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

When: Friday, January 21, 7:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Click Here for Magic vs Lakers Odds

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Magic vs. Lakers Line Movement

The Orlando Magic have eight wins. Eight wins.

That's three fewer than the next worst team, and nearly half as many as the third-worst. They have a bottom-three offense and a bottom-six defense. Somehow, they are even worse at home, where they have just two wins in 18 games and a net rating that is more than five points per 100 possessions worse than when they're on the road.

And yet, they are an underdog here by less than two possessions against a team many thought would compete for a championship. That's how bad things have gotten for the Lakers - losers of four of their last five, and the centerpiece of the NBA's biggest story at the moment. Their most recent loss to the middling Pacers took center stage in the national conversation because Russell Westbrook was benched for the final four minutes. Frank Vogel, who is rumored to be on the hot seat, defended the decision by saying it gave them the best chance to win. It didn't work.

Now every game, including this one to the worst team in basketball, will have the spotlight on it. Will Russ play? Will Vogel survive another loss? Will LA be able to right the ship after AD comes back?

All of the negativity has brought this line down a little too far. It's true that the Lakers only have two double-digit road wins on the year, in Sacramento in late November and in Oklahoma City in early December. LeBron James missed one of those games and Anthony Davis missed another one, so it's not like they can't win a road game by a sizable margin without their big two in tact. Still, even against a team like the Magic, this is no guarantee.

But if ever there was a time LA would show up and play with some pride, it is now. If not, it likely means a new coach, which will force a whole new reassessment of their situation moving forward. For now though, the Lakers will get one, final benefit of the doubt here. Famous last words, perhaps, but even so, I'm giving the points on the road.

Magic vs. Lakers Pick

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Clippers Prediction

When: 7:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Click Here for 76ers vs Clippers Odds

76ers vs. Clippers Line Movement

The 76ers are not invincible. No team in the NBA is right now. Even with Joel Embiid playing like an MVP for nearly two months now, Philly doesn't have a team good enough to take without a second thought.

Likewise, even without either of their MVP candidates, the Clippers are no pushover. Since Paul George went down for good, LA is 5-9 but 3-3 in their last six, with quality wins over the Hawks and Nuggets plus close losses in San Antonio and Denver.

But the numbers are what the numbers are. Without George in the lineup for nearly a month now, LA has the 24th ranked net rating in the league. The Sixers, meanwhile, have the 9th ranked figure since Embiid returned, but that number is skewed by the single game he missed, in which Philadelphia lost by 35 to the Grizzlies. That that loss away and it bumps them up to 7th.

All this is to say that this should be a double-digit spread. It isn't because the Clippers are feisty and well-coached, and don't seem to mind playing on the road. Maybe they hang around, but there's a far more likely chance that Philly wins by double digits - something they've done seven times in their last nine games. Give the points at home.

76ers vs. Clippers Pick

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Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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