Magic vs. Wizards Preview (12/28/12)

(John Raoux/Associated Press)

The Orlando Magic haven’t won a game since they beat the Wizards a few weeks ago. Washington will look to avoid their ninth straight loss, as they face the depleted Orlando Magic tonight at the Verizon Center.

Key Match Up

Bradley Beal has really struggled as of late. Just as much as Jan Vesely, the absence of John Wall in the Wizards lineup has really made Beal struggle to get involved in the offense. Beal finished with just two points on Wednesday night, when the Wizards lost another heart breaking game to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wizards head coach, Randy Wittman, criticized Beal with the notion that he’s worried too much about putting the ball in the basket. Beal disagreed, and went on to say that his main concern is on the defensive end of the floor. It’s quite clear the Beal’s lack of aggressiveness is one of the main causes of his recent struggles. Beal often settles for jump shots, which he is having trouble knocking down, instead of penetrating to the basket. You’d like to see Beal take more advantage of his opportunity on the offensive end of the spectrum. With John Wall out, Beal is amongst many players who have a larger role on the team than normally expected. The Orlando Magic don’t have many, if any, defensive anchors patrolling the paint. I’m intrigued to see if Beal takes advantage of that, and looks to attack the basket more often than usual. One player that will undoubtedly look to stop Beal, is Arron Afflalo.

Afflalo was acquired by Orlando after the Magic dealt Dwight Howard in the three team deal involving the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. Afflalo has been a pleasant surprise to Magic fans, as he’s averaging a career high 16 points and 3 assists. Afflalo is probably the Magic’s most talented player available on the roster. His ability to shoot at such a high rate and play lock down defense against the opposing team’s best player, has been a great factor during Orlando’s twelve surprising victories. With Glen Davis out due to shoulder injury, Afflalo will be called upon even more by the Orlando Magic.

Other Notes/Links

Prediction

The Wizards are currently on the worst run in franchise history. The team has only won three games the entire season. With John Wall out, the Wizards wont have many more distinct opportunities to win games. One of those opportunities comes tonight against the Orlando Magic.

As I was reading through the list of names on the Magic’s roster, I thought to myself, how in the world does this team has 12 wins?

Frankly, the Orlando Magic are probably the only team in the entire league which has less talent on their roster than the Washington Wizards. With Glen Davis out, the Magic have been left stranded looking for offense. ‘Big Baby’ had of the league’s highest usage ratings, and with him out 4-6 weeks, the Magic don’t really have anyone to produce on the offensive end of the floor.

The last time the two teams met, Nene had his best game of the season, scoring 20 points on just 10 shots. With Davis out, Nene will probably continue to dominate Orlando’s defense. Nene has averaged over 16 points during the past five outings, and doesn’t have much waiting for him tonight. Nikola Vucevic has been the most productive player for Orlando thus far. He’s averaged close to 15 points, and over 12 rebounds per game in the past few weeks. He’s not known for his defense, so Nene should be able to get the best of him tonight.

The Magic really don’t have much going for them right now. They’re stuck with a mediocre record, with not much talent on the roster, if any at all.

The Wizards really need to take advantage of this opportunity, and close out a win at the Verizon Center. ‘Moral victories’ are simply unacceptable, and don’t show up in the win-loss column.

If you read my predictions, I usually pick the Wizards to win. So why not tonight? After all, they have a legitimate chance of winning.

Wizards win: 86-78

 

 

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