Magic Unable to Slow Down Wizards in Nation’s Capital

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Markelle Fultz posted 23 points near his hometown where he has a history of playing well, Franz Wagner scored 20, and Paolo Banchero had 15, however the Orlando Magic, coming off that hard-fought win at home against the New Orleans Pelicans, were unable to slow down the Washington Wizards in Saturday’s 138-118 loss at Capital One Arena. 

Key Stretch

After the Magic closed the gap to seven late in the third quarter, the Wizards reclaimed control with a 17-6 run. Rui Hachimura scored nine of his career-matching-high 30 points during that span, while Kyle Kuzma had five of his 25 points. Daniel Gafford converted on an AND-1 dunk in that stretch as well. 

Key Stats

This season, the Magic have done a great job guarding the 3-point line. That, however, was not the case in the nation’s capital, as the Wizards knocked down 18 of their 34 attempts (52.9 percent). Orlando did match their season high in blocks with 10 of them. 

Injury/Inactive Report

Chuma Okeke (left knee injury recovery) was out for the Magic. Jonathan Isaac, Caleb Houstan and Kevon Harris were on G League assignments. Everyone was healthy for the Wizards coming into the game, however Kristaps Porzingis sprained his left ankle in the third quarter and didn’t return. Vernon Carey Jr., Johnny Davis, Jordan Goodwin, and Isaiah Todd were with Washington’s G League team.  

Quote of the Day

“Honestly, it would probably be one of the best moments of my life. A dream come true if I’m being honest. I’m really trying not to even think about it or expect it (as) to not even be let down. That would be a blessing but that’s not like the end-all be-all for me. I’m not expecting it to happen, but if it did, I would probably cry or something. I don’t want to think about it too much though…It’s crazy. I haven’t spoken about it or anything but when I did see the results and voting numbers and saw my name was up there, it shocked me a little bit. It took me back. It’s a blessing to have people supporting you like that. Shout out to all the fans in Orlando or wherever they're at. I appreciate it.” – Banchero on what it would mean to him if he were to be selected for the All-Star Game 

This Day in History

On Jan. 21, 1996, in a rematch of the prior season’s NBA Finals, the Magic earned some revenge against the Rockets, as Shaquille O’Neal posted 29 points and 16 rebounds and Penny Hardaway tallied 28 points and 13 assists in Orlando’s victory in Houston. Hakeem Olajuwon led the Rockets with 30 points, while Clyde Drexler scored 20.

Rivals Report

The Wizards are hard to predict. They’ve had some impressive wins and some demoralizing losses so far this season. They have a nice collection of talent – led by their Big Three of Bradley Beal, Porzingis, and Kuzma – but they don’t have an identity. There’s nothing they do exceptionally well. But at the same time, there’s nothing they are extremely poor at.

Up Next

The Magic will play two straight home games, starting on Monday when the Boston Celtics come to town for a 7 p.m. tipoff. This will be the fourth and final meeting this season between them, with the road squad winning each of the first three. Jayson Tatum exploded for 40 points in Boston’s win in Orlando on Oct. 28. Then in December, the Magic beat the Celtics in back-to-back contests in Boston. Moe Wagner led the way in the first one with 25 points, while Banchero was spectacular in the next one with 31 points. Tatum did not play in Saturday’s win in Toronto with wrist soreness, while Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III were unable to finish that game because of injuries suffered during the contest.