Game Day 51 sees Orlando take on Washington in the Amway Centre. Both teams are in the lower reaches of the Eastern Conference and this game has potential implications for lottery odds.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS ORLANDO TAKE ON WASHINGTON
The Wizards last played on Monday night losing to the Toronto Raptors by 101-103. Six Washington players made double figure scoring. Russell Westbrook led the Wizards with a triple double of 23 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Deni Avdija also made a double-double.
The Magic took another defeat on Sunday night in a battling performance against the Denver Nuggets by 109-119. The team had 8 fit players, two playing with niggling injuries that had seen them absent previously. Six of the 8 Orlando players had double figure scoring. The night was led by Chuma Okeke and Terrence Ross who each had 19 points. RJ Hampton hit a career high 16 points. Wendell Carter Jr who is seen as a “soft centre” by some gave Nikola Jokic a tough night.
The Wizards have won 7 of 23 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 10 of 25 games at home. Season records see Orlando at 17-33, whilst Washington are 17-32. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Wizards have a 3-7 record, whilst Orlando are 4-6. Washington have lost their last four games and Orlando their last two.
Results see Washington 13th in the Eastern Conference and Orlando 14th.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Last season Washington had a record of 25-47 and finished 10th in the Eastern Conference. They were 15th in NBA for offensive rating and 30th in defence! This is now a different team but Washington have not moved forward as many predicted after the acquisition of Russell Westbrook, in fact moving backwards.
The Wizards come into the game as the NBA’s 25th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 113.2 points per game. A defensive rating at 26th sees them conceding 118.7 points per game (the NBA’s worst).
Offensively they play at the NBA’s fastest pace. Interestingly though they hit only 10.6 fast break points per game which is 25th in the NBA. They do get assists, 24.6 per game. Scoring wise a huge 54.7% of Washington’s points per game comes from inside the paint. A low 27.9% of their points per game comes from beyond the arc, seeing only Cleveland score less with the three ball. They shoot 46..4% from the field and 34.2% with the 3 ball (28th in the NBA). Only Philadelphia get more free throws per game. Washington attempt 25.9 per game, making 19.7. That made 75.9% accounts for 17.4% of their points.
As already highlighted their defence leaks points. They rate last in blocks (3.8 per game) but better for steals (7.2 per game). They turn the ball over at a high rate of 14.7 times per game. On average they foul the most in the NBA at 22.1 times per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 16.9 times per game, the best record in the NBA. 50.7% of opponent points come in the paint and 32.5% from deep.
THE WASHINGTON WIZARDS SQUAD
Coach Scott Brooks has talent in the team, but as I write their injury report on ESPN is impactful. Robin Lopez (8.5 PPG) is day-to-day and questionable for tonight with a quadricep issue. Bradley Beal (31.3 PPG) is questionable with a hip injury. Rui Hachimura (14.2 PPG)is day-to-day and questionable with a shoulder issue. Daniel Gafford 95.2 PPG) is out and Thomas Bryant (14.3 PPG) is out long term with a torn ACL.
Last time out they started Russell Westbrook (21.8 PPG), Deni Avdija (6.4 PPG), Alex Len (6.6 PPG), Raul Neto (8.1 PPG) and Davis Bertans (11 PPG).
From the bench came Garrison Matthews (6.7 PPG), Ish Smith (5.4 PPG),Chandler Hutchinson (3.6 PPG), Anthony Gill (0.9 PPG) and Robin Lopez (8.5 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD – THE WASHINGTON WIZARDS
The all time regular season record sees 126 games played, with the Magic ahead 73-53.
Orlando have already met and defeated the Wizards twice this season. On Game Day 2 Orlando won 130-120 and Game Day 3 by 120-113. This is the only meeting in the Amway this season so is the final time we play them this season.
Last season the Magic swept the Wizards 4-0. The first match on 17th November 2019 was a 121-125 victory in the Amway. The next two games on the road saw wins by 127-120 (December 3rd 2019) and 122-101 (January 1st). The final game played was in the Amway with a Magic win by a massive 89-123.
Orlando have now won the last 6 meetings between the teams. Washington last won in the Amway on January 25th 2019 by 95-91.
These two teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT AS ORLANDO TAKE ON WASHINGTON
As I write the injury report on ESPN is still lengthy.
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury.
Khem Birch (5.4 PPG) is again questionable with an illness.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.7 PPG) is again questionable with illness.
Karim Mane (1 PPG) is listed as day-to-day with hamstring issue, but his status again questionable for the game.
Gary Harris (9.7 PPG) has been absent with a thigh issue. Coach Clifford has said that despite practicing Harris is out tonight. He is expected to make his debut soon.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG)has said he is ready to play. He remains listed as out but could return tonight.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
THE LINE-UP FOR ORLANDO IN THE MILE HIGH CITY
The Magic starting unit against Denver was the 23rd used by Coach Clifford this season. It was Wendell Carter Jr (11.4 PPG), Chuma Okeke (6.4 PPG), James Ennis III (8.3 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG) and .RJ Hampton (3.1 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (16 PPG), Mo Bamba (5.7 PPG) and Chasson Randle (5.9 PPG).
Orlando tonight also have Devin Cannady (0 PPG). He has been signed to a 10 Day Contract from the Lakeland Magic. He is a guard with a sharp 3 point shot that saw him win G League Finals MVP award.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 17-33
HOME RECORD – 10-15
ROAD RECORD – 7-18
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.6)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 22ND OF 30 (112.7)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.3)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 15TH OF 30 (111.3)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 8-10
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 13-4
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 10-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-20
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 5-9
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 5-3
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 6-1
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 6-3
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 3-6
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 6-12
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-11
LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 46 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 77 – GAME DAY 38 SAN ANTONIO SPURS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 137 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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KEYS TO THE GAME AS ORLANDO TAKE ON WASHINGTON
As Orlando take on Washington there will be opportunity to score. They foul a lot, they are a poor blocking side and allow a huge opponent score per game.
Orlando must stop Westbrook. Everyone knows he is capable of scoring at a high rate and gets his team mates opportunities. He will drive and the Magic must limit the fouls which Washington rely n for scoring. Both Bertans and Len know how to get points.
The determination shown since the trade deadline returned against Denver and Orlando came close to pulling off a shock win. Defence is again a must for Orlando and the Magic had not been conceding points outside of the Utah game.
The Magic continue to try and win games. Our squad are playing for a future with the team. Chuma Okeke will again be looking to grow presence. Wendell Carter Jr is seeing important minutes as the team’s centre down the stretch. His figures in all categories are strengthening, justifying the trust shown by Coach Clifford. Devin Cannady is looking to forge a full time position. Cole Anthony could return. RJ Hampton is showing why Orlando valued his signature in the Gordon trade.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Orlando again has the 4th worst record in the NBA. This means Orlando have a 12.5% chance of landing the number 1 draft pick when the lottery comes. Washington having played a game less have a better record at 17-32. The teams facing the lottery are very closely together. Orlando are 4.5 games back of Chicago in 10th. However Orlando are clearly still competing for the post season.
The dates to look for as the season progresses are:
The regular season ends May 16th.
The Play-In tournament is May 18th and 21st.
From May 22nd to July 22nd the NBA Playoffs are scheduled to run.
The date for the Draft Lottery as June 22nd.
The 2021 NBA Draft is set for July 29th.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated the 2021-22 season is hoped to start back at its more normal time of late October.