The Orlando Magic will look to get back on the right track when they host the Washington Wizards Wednesday night.
The Magic entered Monday night’s game with the Detroit Pistons on a four-game winning streak, but they looked flat and tired, falling to the Pistons 89-78.
The Wizards, who were defeated by the Boston Celtics 100-92 Monday, are the league’s only winless team (0-5).
The Magic enter the game ranked ninth in offensive efficiency (103.6) and 13th in defensive efficiency (99.1). The Wizards are last in offense (89.6) and 23rd in defense (103.5).
Tip-off from the the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST. The game will be shown locally on Sun Sports and nationally on NBA TV.
As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are Ed Malloy, Mark Ayotte and Brent Barnaky.
The Line: Orlando – 13.0 (188u)
The Magic looked flat, tired and at times a bit disinterested in their loss to the Detroit Pistons Monday night, but I wouldn’t make too much of that. That’s bound to happen during this shortened season with compact schedules. Teams simply won’t have the energy to bring it every night.
The Wizards have centered their rebuilding project around point guard John Wall, who would have been last season’s rookie of the year if not for Blake Griffin. Wall is averaging 13.8 points and 6.8 assists per game through five contests this year (he put up 16.4 and 8.3 last season). Wall’s size and quickness is going to give a banged up Jameer Nelson and Chris Duhon a lot of trouble. They simple don’t have the size or speed to keep up with Wall.
The Wizards have been horrible on offense and unfortunately for Washington fans, the defense hasn’t been a whole lot better.
The Wizards have six players averaging double figures in scoring, but none of them are putting up more than 13.8 points per game (Wall and JaVale McGee are both averaging 13.8). Outside of McGee, who’s also grabbing 11 rebounds per game and shooting 54.4% from the field, the individual field goal percentages for Washington are brutal. As a team, the Wizards are the worst shooting team in the league, ranking last in effective field goal percentage (42.2%) and second-to-last in true shooting (47.3%). Orlando’s defense should be able to continue to force the Wizards into tough shots.
Defensively, the Wizards don’t have a lot to throw at Howard with Ronny Turiaf injuring his left hand on Sunday (he missed Monday’s game and will be out 5-6 weeks). JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Trevor Booker will have to match up with Howard and he shouldn’t have a problem with any of them.
You’d think a young team like Washington would like to get out and run like they did last year (they were ninth in pace (96.5) and less than a possession away from fifth). This year, they are tied for 12th in pace (94.6). The Magic are the third-slowest paced team in the league so far (90.5). Usually, Orlando is closer to the middle of the pack pace wise, so it will be interesting to see if they speed things up. That likely won’t happen Wednesday as they probably don’t want to run with the Wizards.
Like their last five games, this is a team that shouldn’t be a match for the Magic. With the day off Tuesday, a mostly healthy team and with the game being at home, the Magic have no excuses for not winning this game.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: Andray Blatche, Chris Duhon, Chris Singleton, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jan Vesely, Jason Richardson, Javale Mcgee, John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Larry Hughes, Maurice Evans, Nick Young, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Von Wafer, Washington Wizards