As our season draws towards a close, tonight sees Orlando in Washington and looking to take the MAGIC from the Wizards on Game Day 77.
The tip time from DC is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being 12 midnight here in the U.K. (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando). To watch the game live or on demand you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
Let’s dive into it!
Season Record And Last Time Out
The Orlando Magic
Orlando erased a 20 point deficit against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse Arena on Monday night by 101-107. The Magic played all their reserves down a long final stretch. Whilst being competitive it saw the Cavs go from down by 2 points midway through the fourth to up 10 with a shade over a minute remaining.
The Magic were led by a returning Wendell Carter Jr with his 33rd double-double of the season, consisting of 15 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists. Cole Anthony and Mo Bamba both scored 11 points. Franz Wagner had 10 points and 6 assists. Markelle Fultz had 11 points, 4 assists and 2 steals as he again impressed from the bench. Playing extended minutes from the bench Ignas Brazdeikis equalled his season high of 13 points. Admiral Schofield rounded out the double-digit scoring with 10 points.
Including tonight the Magic have 6 games remaining. Orlando’s record for the season is 20 wins and 56 losses. The Magic remain last in the Eastern Conference, the record tied with the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 4, having lost 3 games consecutively. The home record stands at 10 wins of 37 games played. On the road the record is 10 wins in 39 games played. Points per game sees the Magic scoring 104.1, whilst conceding 111.9.
The Washington Wizards
Washington are 12th in the Eastern Conference, having a record of 32 wins and 43 losses. Of the last 10 games played they have won 3. Their home record stands at 19 wins in 38 played. Whilst not officially eliminated from the play-in tournament in all actuality they are too far back to be realistically involved. In points per game Washington score 108.1,whilst conceding 111.4.
This is the second night of a back-to-back for Washington. Last night (29th) the Wizards took a home-court loss to the Chicago Bulls by 107-94. Rui Hachimura led the team with 21 points, followed by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 20. Kristaps Porzingis and Deni Avdija both recorded 14 points. This was a tight game until the Bulls put in a 26-14 run inside the final 9 minutes.
Head-To-Head – The Washington Wizards
The all time regular season record sees 130 games played, with the Magic ahead 73-57. Washington have won the last four match-ups between these two teams, Orlando winning the 6 meetings before that.
This is the fourth and final meeting of the season against our Southeast Division rivals. The first game on November 13th (Game Day 13) saw the Wizards win 104-92 in the Amway Center. The second was again in the Amway Center with Washington taking a 102-100 victory on January 9th (Game Day 42). The final game came on January 12th in Washington and saw Orlando suffer a tenth consecutive loss as the Wizards ran out 106-112 winners.
Last season the Magic took the series over the Wizards by 2-1.
These two teams have never met in the playoffs.
Our Opponents – The Washington Wizards
Washington’s first season head coach Wes Unseld is assisted by former Magic assistant coach Pat Delany. After their surprise start to the season Washington have fallen back dramatically.
As I write the Washington Wizards are listed on ESPN as having two significant injury concerns. Kyle Kuzma is day-to-day and questionable, whilst their All-Star leader; Bradley Beal is out for the rest of the season. Vernon Carey Jr is also out.
Wizards’ Starting Unit vs Chicago – Tomas Satoransky (PG), Cory Kispert (SG), Rui Hachimura (PF), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SF), Kristaps Porzingis (C)
Bench Unit – Deni Avdija, Ish Smith, Daniel Gafford, Anthony Gill, Raul Neto, Thomas Bryant (DNP), Isaiah Todd (DNP), Cassius Winston (DNP)
The Orlando Magic Lineup And Injury Report
Coach Jamahl Mosely will have to make a change tonight with Chuma Okeke returning to the starting unit as Wendell Carter Jr is listed as out again. Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Isaac and Bol Bol all remain out for Orlando.
Last Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), RJ Hampton (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit – Markelle Fultz, Chuma Okeke, Jeff Dowtin, Moe Wagner, Admiral Schofield, Ignas Brazdeikis, Gary Harris (DNP), Robin Lopez (DNP), Terrence Ross (DNP)
Final Thoughts On Looking To Take The Magic From The Wizards
Being able to write Franz Wagner’s name into the starting lineup every night must have been season highlight for coach Jamahl Mosley. To emphasise his reliability consider this; every other Magic player has missed or sat more than 10 games so far. The younger half of the “Berlin Ballers” is on pace for the highest scoring average by a No. 8 pick in the past 25 years, dating back to Kerry Kittles’ 16.4 ppg in 1997.
Currently sitting at number 5 in the Rookie of the Year rankings Franz is in my opinion woefully love and should be higher in the standings. His season stats were highlighted by David Steele and put him in the company of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
As to the game it is again all about development for Orlando opportunities. Nothing has changed from the resumption of the season after All-Star when Coach Mosely said he would experiment with multiple lineups on the run in. They will play hard on defence and look to break fast. Orlando will seek to collapse the defence to get clean looks from distance, playing inside-out basketball again.
Washington are a solid team attacking from inside the arc but rate amongst the worst with the three ball. Rebounding and steals are also a weakness but they block with the league’s best.
This could be a fun watch, all-be-it a meaningless game.