Aaron Gordon Will Sit Out Third Straight Game Tonight
By John Denton
Feb. 3, 2018
ORLANDO – Prior to Wednesday, the Orlando Magic were just 1-9 this season when forced to play without standout forward, Aaron Gordon, and it took a remarkable shooting performance from the team to win that night back in mid-October.
The Magic were without Gordon again on Wednesday, and once again they authored a masterful shooting performance to help compensate for the loss of their leading scorer in a victory against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Tonight, when the Magic (15-35) host the rival Washington Wizards (29-22) at the Amway Center, they won’t have Gordon for a third straight game. Gordon, who leads the Magic with 18.4 points per game this season, is still dealing with the effects from a strained left hip flexor and the injury caused him to end his practice session early on Friday.
That injury caused Gordon to miss games on Tuesday and Wednesday – ones where Orlando moved the ball especially well and had stellar shooting from afar. The Magic drilled 15 3-pointers in a narrow loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday and connected on 18 more – including a franchise-record nine in the third quarter – of Wednesday’s 127-105 beat-down of the Lakers.
In their last two games, the Magic have made 33 of 63 3-point attempts. It’s the fourth-most threes made in team history during a two-game span, according to STATS, Inc. The most ever is 37 set on Jan. 11-13, 2009. The most threes the Magic have ever made in any three-game span in their history is 53.
``We’re playing good ball and we’re really sharing the ball,’’ said Magic guard Evan Fournier, who had four of Orlando’s nine 3-pointers in Wednesday’s third quarter. ``I think a big part (of the offensive up-tick) is because we’re really attacking the paint and being aggressive. If we don’t have a shot, we’re making good decisions. So we just have to keep it going tonight.’’
Tonight, Orlando will be trying to do something that it hasn’t accomplished since mid-November. The Magic haven’t won consecutive games since beating New York and Phoenix on Nov. 8 and 10. Orlando was 8-4 at that time, meaning it has failed seven different times in trying to string together consecutive victories.
``That would be nice – more than nice,’’ Fournier said. ``It’s just about being consistent. Stop talking about it and just start doing it. It’s that simple.’’
Washington is dealing with a major injury of its own what with all-star point guard John Wall having knee surgery earlier in the week. The Wizards have surprisingly ripped off three straight victories without Wall and tonight they will be shooting for their third four-game winning streak of the season. In this three-game winning streak, Washington has averaged 117.7 points, 32.3 assists and have shot 49 percent from the floor.
``They’ve done it in impressive fashion too, (beating) Toronto and OKC and they blew out Atlanta,’’ Magic coach Frank Vogel said. ``They’re averaging 32 assists in this three-game stretch and it’s not just the Bradly Beal show either. The point guard (Tomas Santoransky) is playing well and (Otto) Porter and (Marcus) Morris are both averaging 19 (points) and 10 (rebounds) a game. It’s one of those deals where you always get a little bit of a surge when your top guy goes down and everyone knows that they have to be on point with their responsibilities and that’s where they’re at right now and are playing good basketball. We’ll have to play well to beat them.’’
Gordon hoped to return tonight following his two-game absence, but he had to cut a workout short on Friday. Orlando will start either Marreese Speights or Mario Hezonja at power forward tonight. Both players have been red-hot with their shot in the past two games.
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