Pregame Report from AdventHealth Training Center
ORLANDO – To say the Orlando Magic will be shorthanded against the Washington Wizards would be an understatement.
Following an on-court altercation during their matchup with the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, the NBA suspended Moe Wagner for the next two games. In addition, eight other Magic players – Cole Anthony, Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., R.J. Hampton, Gary Harris, Kevon Harris, Admiral Schofield and Franz Wagner – have each been suspended one game for leaving the bench area during the altercation.
The one-game suspensions issued to the eight Magic players will be served on a staggered basis to ensure that Orlando has eight healthy players available to play in its next two games – the minimum amount required per league rules. Anthony, Bamba, Carter, Hampton and Gary Harris will serve their suspensions on Friday against the Wizards, while Kevon Harris, Schofield and Franz Wagner will miss the following game on Jan. 4 vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With Jonathan Isaac, Chuma Okeke, and Jalen Suggs also out due to injury, Orlando will only have Paolo Banchero, Bol Bol, Markelle Fultz, Caleb Houstan, Kevon Harris, Terrence Ross, Schofield, and Franz Wagner at its disposal against Washington.
With just eight players available, the Magic will take on the Southeast Division rival Washington Wizards on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
Even at full strength, taking down the Wizards would be no easy task. After a tough start to the season, the Wizards have rattled off three straight victories.
Although it's a small sample size, over that span, Washington has the NBA’s best offensive rating (125.6) to go along with a top-five mark (111.0) on the defensive end.
The Wizards have three players averaging over 20 points per game this season. Bradley Beal (23.5), Kristaps Porzingis (21.9), and Kyle Kuzma (21.6) have led the team’s offensive charge over the duration of their campaign, while Rui Hachimura, who’s posted 21.7 points per contest over Washington’s last three games, has come on strong as of late.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Normally, something like that happens on the court and not in front of one of the other benches. I think that was part of our worry as teammates. You don’t want your teammate alone amongst the whole other team. I don’t want to say what’s right or what’s wrong.” – Franz Wagner on the on-court altercation
KEY STATS: “I don't care if Monday's blue, Tuesday's grey and Wednesday too. Thursday, I don't care about you. It's Friday, I'm in love.”
Although the Cure wrote the lyrics to that song over 30 years ago, they currently hold true for the Magic’s 2022-23 campaign. Orlando is 6-3 this season when playing on a Friday, which makes it by far and away their most successful day of the week.
Mondays, just as the song suggests, have been blue with the Magic posting a 0-7 record on the opening day of the week.
Orlando will have an opportunity to make their Friday mark even better tonight against the Wizards.
IN AND OUT: As mentioned, Isaac (left knee injury recovery), Okeke (left knee surgery), and Suggs (right ankle soreness) are out tonight due to injury. Anthony, Bamba, Carter, Hampton and Gary Harris will miss the contest due to suspensions.
For Washington, Beal (left hamstring soreness) and Taj Gibson (left groin soreness) are questionable, while Vernon Carey Jr. (G League – On Assignment), Johnny Davis (G League – On Assignment), Devon Dotson (G League – Two-Way), and Isaiah Todd (G League – On Assignment) are out.
HOW TO WATCH: Watch the game on Bally Sports Florida or tune in on radio via FM 96.9 The Game.