The Orlando Magic will look to kick off the unofficial start to the second half of the season on a high note when they take on the Washington Wizards Wednesday night. The Magic entered the break with a record of 22-13 while the Wizards, who lost a heartbreaker to the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night, are now 7-27.
These two teams have met twice this season, both times in Orlando, with the Magic winning each game.
The Magic enter the game ranked 14th in offensive efficiency (103.4), 11th in defensive efficiency (100.9) and play at the league’s fifth-slowest pace (89.2). The Wizards are 28th in offensive efficiency (98.6), 26th in defensive efficiency (107.9) and play at the league’s fifth-fastest pace (93.6).
Tip-off from the the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST. The game will be shown locally on Sun Sports.
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 Monty McCutchen, Matt Boland and Mark Lindsay.
The Line: Orlando – 7.5 (191u)
The Wizards are fast and inefficient, ranking fifth in pace and 28th in offensive efficiency, the opposite of what we’re used to seeing out of the Magic during the Stan Van Gundy era. This season, Orlando’s offense has been average, ranking in the middle of the league at 14th.
With Jameer Nelson returning returning to the lineup, the Magic should have more than enough firepower to score on the Wizards, who rank just 25th in defensive efficiency.
Clearly, the youthful Wizards will try to up the tempo against the Magic, who play at the league’s fifth-slowest pace. John Wall, the top overall pick in the 2010 daft, is one of the league’s most exciting and fastest young players and he will clearly try to use his athleticism to get the best of Nelson, who is not only having the worst season of his career, but is coming off of a left-knee strain that caused him to miss Orlando’s loss to Atlanta Thursday. Wall is averaging 16.9 points, 7.8 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game in his second season.
Center JaVale McGee (11.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.62 bpg) is a talent, but should be no match for Dwight Howard – Howard has averaged 25.5 ppg and 19.0 rpg in two meetings with McGee and the Wizards this season.
- Former Florida State forward Chris Singleton scored a career-high 16 points in Washington’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday.
- Quentin Richardson says he’s “day-to-day” after removing himself from practice because of his right Achilles’ tendon.
- Nick Young (16.9 ppg), Jordan Crawford (12.6 ppg) and Andray Blatche (10.3 ppg) join Wall and McGee as Wizards who average double figures in scoring. Blatche remains out with a calf injury.
- Former Magic forward Rashard Lewis missed Tuesday’s game with a sore left knee. He’s averaging just 7.8 ppg this season.
(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 on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Tags: 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