By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards conclude their road trip tonight in Orlando as they take on the Magic at Amway Center (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Wizards lead the season series, 2-1.
Both teams enter tonight banged up and could be without many of their key contributors. The Wizards played Wednesday night with just eight healthy bodies, but hope to get some reinforcements tonight. None of their injured players have been ruled out of tonight's game and many could be gametime decisions.
The Magic are also limited, as they also played Wednesday night with just eight bodies. They will likely be playing without their leading scorer Arron Afflalo, their leading rebounder Nikola Vucevic, and their best offensive post player Glen Davis.
So who's left?
The Magic sent away J.J. Redick at the trade deadline and acquired Tobias Harris from Milwaukee who has been playing at a high level since joining the Magic. He's averaging 15.8 ppg & 7.7 rpg since changing teams and will be a threat both inside and outside in tonight's game. He has been in double figures in eight of the Magic's last nine games and is coming off a career-high 29 points on Wednesday night in Charlotte. For a team that is struggling to find offense, the Magic will look to Harris to do much of their scoring tonight. Speaking of career highs, Kyle O'Quinn also tallied a career-high 23 points on Wednesday night as he and Harris have taken over the starting spots due to injuries. O'Quinn made a name for himself around this time last year with Norfolk St and the Wizards will need to make sure not to overlook the rookie down on the post. The only real familiar name that most fans will notice in the Magic's starting unit is their point guard Jameer Nelson. In his ninth season, Nelson is having a career year averaging a career-high 7.5 apg. He's also averages scoring just under 15 points per game and with a team that may be looking for buckets tonight, watch for Nelson to take more of a scorers mentality.
The Magic have lost eight straight games and will be hungry to snap that streak against a Wizards team that they beat at Amway Center back in December.
The Wizards can't overlook this Magic team as they enter tonight's game coming off a road loss in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night and are just 7-28 on the road this year. Tonight will be a great opportunity to improve on that record as they take on a depleted Magic team who have not won since March 10th. The last time they met, the Wizards routed this Magic team, 120-91, on January 14th at Verizon Center. The Wizards had 32 assists in that game and will want to move the ball around again tonight to try and finish this road trip with a win in Orlando.
The action kicks off at 7pm.
Wall is averaging 24.3 points, 9.6 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game in his last 10 games. He is shooting .512 from the field, .583 from three-point range and .824 from the free throw line during this stretch. He also has five double-doubles in his last 10 games. He is coming off a 3/18 shooting performance on Wednesday night, but did still manage to tally 18 point and 12 assists. The Wizards will once again be heavily reliant on Wall to lead them to victory again tonight.
Despite the Magic's struggles this season, Nelson is having himself a very nice year, averaging just under 15 points per game and 7.5 assists per game. However, his shooting percentages are at a career low as he is shooting under 40% from the field for the first time in his career. The Wizards will want to force him to take a lot of shots if he wants to score tonight and they want to make sure that many of those shots are tough shots to try and slow down the Magic attack.
In the below clip, John Wall scores 47 points vs. the Grizzlies.
In this clip, Wall gets the big block.