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The Magic Must Win Against The Wizards

Tonight in Orlando the Magic must win against the Wizards if Orlando hope to keep their slim hopes of reaching the play-in tournament alive. Washington are the only team that Orlando face with whom they are in competition for the play-in spots. A loss whilst not mathematically, in all likelihood puts Orlando out of the race.

  • Tip time in the Amway Center, Orlando is for us U.K. fans 11pm (7pm in Orlando).
  • To watch here in the U.K. you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.

The Stats

The Orlando Magic

  • Orlando have a 29-43 record, remaining 13th in the Eastern Conference.
  • The Magic have won 3 of the last 10 games.
  • On the season Orlando score 111.5 points per game (26th of 30) and concede 114.4 points per game (17th of 30).
  • Last game saw Orlando fall to a loss in Los Angeles to the Lakers by 105-111, despite rallying back from 16 down in the first half. This was a game all Magic fans believed was officiated in a very one-sided manner. Paolo Banchero racked up 21 points. Franz Wagner also scored 21, with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Markelle Fultz had 12 points and 10 assists. Wendell Carter Jr recorded his 20th double-double of the season, whilst Cole Anthony came off the bench to record 17 points.

The Washington Wizards

  • The Wizards are pushing to be involved in the play-in game. Their 32-39 record, sees them 11th in the Eastern Conferences just two games behind Chicago for the final spot.
  • Coach Wes Unseld sees his team having lost 2 games straight and won 3 of their last 10 played.
  • The Wizards score 112.8 points per game (24th of 30) and concede 113.5 (16th of 30).
  • Last time out Washington were handed a 132-118 loss at home to the Sacramento Kings. That defeat saw Kyle Kuzma lead the team with 33 points.

Squad And Injury News

  • For Orlando Jonathan Isaac (hamstring) is out for the season.
  • The Magic will again be without Jalen Suggs (concussion).
  • For Washington Kyle Kuzma (right ankle sprain) is out. 
  • The Wizards will also be without Jay Huff and Quenton Jackson (two-way), being joined by Isaiah Todd on assignment to the G-League.

The Big Picture

  • The Magic gained valuable experience of close games against teams playing hard for something on their trip out West. Tonight is another opportunity to get experience in a playoff like atmosphere.
  • The head-to-head sees the Magic leading the Wizards by 73-60 in regular season games. However Washington has won the last 7 games against Orlando. Both meetings this season were very comfortable wins for the Wizards, by 19 and 20 points. 
  • Washington do not play a high paced game, being happy to use the clock. They favour the two-pointer, unsurprisingly with scoring being led by Beal and Porzingis. Orlando will certneed to guard inside the arc effectively.
  • On defence the Wizards dominate the boards, block shots effectively and do not foul. They give up very few free throws per game to opponents. They allow teams to shoot three-pointers heavily but contest well. They are highly susceptible to scoring inside the arc.
  • In order to beat the Wizards, the Magic will have to contain the scoring of their two stars. Guard Bradley Beal is shooting a career-best 51% from the floor this season, with team highs in both points (23.3) and assists (5.4) per game. Big man Kristaps Porzingis is scoring 22.8 points per game, whilst also recording team leading figures for rebounds (8.5) and blocks (1.6) per game. Porzingis figures are so impressive he is one of only three players this season to average at least 20 points, 8 rebounds and one block. 
  • Paolo Banchero continues to lead the Magic scorers with 20 points per game. His 21 points against the L.A. Lakers was the 36th game this season he has scored 20-plus points. That figure is the ninth-most in NBA history, with Carmelo Anthony holding the record from 2003-04 with 49.
  • Orlando’s other top scorers are Franz Wagner (18.7), Wendell Carter Jr (15.6), Markelle Fultz (14) and Cole Anthony (12.6).

Two To Watch As The Magic Must Win Against The Wizards

  • For the Magic Wendell Carter Jr is coming off yet another double-double. Over the past 4 weeks WCJ has featured in 10 games with an averaging a double-double per game of 16.3 points and 10.4 rebounds. Orlando’s big man has also shown signs of become an effective three-point shooter. He will relish tonight’s challenge against Porzingis.
  • Corey Kispert for Washington is a man to be aware of. In the same period as Wendell he is averaging over 13 points per game and is shooting well from deep.

Interestingly as the Magic must win against the Wizards the betting odds are in favour of Orlando.

Let’s Go Magic!