The Wizards have won three straight games and they’ll have a chance to get above the .500 mark tonight against the lowly Orlando Magic. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.
Key Match Up:
Even though Michael Carter Williams has gotten the most attention for the Rookie of the Year race, Victor Oladipo is having a stellar rookie season as well, showing flashes of what the Magic are hoping he will become in the near future. With Arron Afflalo sidelined with injury, Oladipo will have to carry more of the load on both sides of the floor, making him play a bigger role than normally expected. Oladipo had the best game of his career on Friday night against the New York Knicks–scoring 30 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, and dishing out 14 assists.
Oladipo is one of the most explosive players in the league, and Bradley Beal has to do a better job of keeping his man out of the lane. Even though he’s shown some improvement with his jump shot, the Wizards will likely live with any shot Oladipo knocks down outside of the painted area. Washington’s interior defense is still suspect, but it all starts with Beal, who’s job it is to keep Oladipo out of the paint. With that said, Beal is also going to have to step up offensively with Nene out for the next 4-6 weeks. His shooting’s been inconsistent this season and he has to mix it up more offensively with his perimeter shots as well as penetration.
- Arron Afflalo and Nene will be out tonight.
- The Magic have only won 3 games on the road this season.
- Although I don’t expect him to be in uniform tonight, Drew Gooden will sign a 10-day contract with the Wizards.
- Orlando has been mediocre defensively this season despite not really having the personnel to succeed, but they’ve been awful offensively. They have the fifth worst offensive rating in the NBA.
Washington is currently fifth in the conference and they have to win the games they’re supposed to win. It’s really that simple.
Although they’ll be without Nene, they should have enough to win the majority of their games during the final stretch of the season. The Magic only have 3 road wins this season and they’ll be without Afflalo, who’s been their best player all season long. Even though Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and Victor Oladipo are all capable of playing good basketball, losing to the Magic at home would be unacceptable.
With that said, I think the Wizards are going to get above .500 tonight against the Magic. John Wall and Bradley Beal should be able to outplay Orlando’s back court, while Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin will get the opportunity to really showcase themselves in Nene’s absence.