Preview: Washington At Orlando
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 9, 2016
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Unfortunately for the Washington Wizards, Saturday’s meeting with the Orlando Magic is already the finale of the four-game season series. The Wizards are 3-0 against the Magic this season – including its most recent victory, a 103-91 triumph on New Year’s Day – but has struggled against most other opponents in a largely disappointing campaign.
Friday’s 97-88 loss to Toronto in the finale of a four-game homestand left Washington 12-19 against everyone but Orlando. Wizards point guard John Wall is averaging 20.3 points, 10 assists, 2.3 blocks and two steals in the three wins over the Magic. Orlando continued to sputter after its Jan. 1 loss in Washington, losing four straight until an 83-77 win at Brooklyn on Friday. Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic had 20 points apiece and combined for seven steals and a pair of blocks in the Magic’s second-best defensive effort of the season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington), FSN Florida (Orlando)
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (15-19): Washington has averaged 93.8 points during its 1-5 swoon, albeit against some of the better defensive teams in the league. It could get a boost in the return of leading scorer Bradley Beal, which is expected either in Orlando or Monday at Chicago, as head coach Randy Wittman told reporters that Beal was “right there” in his bid to return. The shooting guard has missed 14 straight games with a stress fracture in his right leg.
ABOUT THE MAGIC (20-17): While Beal nears a comeback, Orlando waits on guard Elfrid Payton, who has sat out the last three contests with a sprained ankle. Oladipo has received the start in place of Payton in each of those games and is averaging 19.3 points and seven rebounds, potentially opening the door for a starting nod even after Payton returns. The Magic have averaged 85.6 points in the last five games, beginning with that loss to the Wizards last week.
1. Magic SF Tobias Harris is 6-of-27 from the floor over the last two games.
2. Oladipo has made 11-of-16 3-pointers since taking over for Payton in the starting lineup.
3. Wizards PF Kris Humphries has missed the last two games with a knee issue.
PREDICTION: Magic 94, Wizards 92