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Wizards return home, host Magic Tuesday night
The Wizards (6-12) are back in D.C. for the first time in over a week, hosting the Orlando Magic (8-11) Tuesday night at 7:00 P.M. Washington is looking to bounce back from road losses to the Lakers and Clippers while Orlando aims to build some momentum after wins in two of its last three games.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Isaiah Thomas, G – Bradley Beal, F – Isaac Bonga, F – Davis Bertans, C – Rui Hachimura
Magic: G – Markelle Fultz, G – Evan Fournier, F – Jonathan Isaac, F – Aaron Gordon, C – Khem Birch
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (right foot – out), Ian Mahinmi (right Achilles strain – out), C.J. Miles (left wrist ligament injury – out), Mortiz Wagner (left ankle sprain – out), John Wall (left Achilles rehab – out)
Magic: Al-Farouq Aminu (right knee, torn meniscus – out), Michael Carter-Williams (left hip irritation – doubtful), Nikola Vucevic (right ankle, lateral sprain) – out)
Hachimura coming off career game
Rui Hachimura played the best game of his young career Sunday night against the Clippers, scoring a career-high 30 points. Hachimura also set or tied career highs in minutes (38), field goals (13), field goal attempts (23) and assists (3). The rookie grabbed nine rebounds, one shy of tying his career high set on opening night against Dallas. Hachimura’s outstanding performance broke a bit of a cold streak. Entering Sunday’s matchup with L.A., he had scored less than 10 points in five of the last eight games and hadn’t hit the 20-point mark since November 13 against Boston. Hachimura and the Wizards’ offense as a whole will be challenged against the Orlando defense, which is among the best in the league. In his first matchup with the matchup, Hachimura was held in check, scoring six points on 3-7 (.429) shooting.
Wizards looking for improvement on defense
After last week’s road trip, the Wizards have allowed 125 points or more in three consecutive games and have held their opponents under 110 points just three times this season. The Wizards’ 115.7 defensive rating ranks last in the league. Injuries to some of the team’s most effective defenders and a league-leading pace certainly don’t make things any easier on the defensive end. Mortiz Wagner, Jordan McRae and C.J. Miles, three of the Wizards’ top four players by defensive efficiency, have missed time due to injury this season. Wagner sustained an ankle injury against the Lakers on Friday and missed Sunday’s game against the Clippers. Wagner, who is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game, makes a substantial difference on the defensive end of the court. The Wizards have a 106.1 defensive rating when he is on the court compared to a 119.9 defensive rating when he’s on the bench. With Thomas Bryant as the roster’s only healthy true center, the Wizards will need to get creative if Wagner is to miss any extended time.
Contrasting styles clash Tuesday night
The Wizards’ and Magic’s on-court approaches differ in just about every way. The Wizards are top-five in the league in offensive rating and last in defensive rating. The Magic rank last in offensive rating and top-10 in defensive rating. Orlando’s offensive struggles have not been helped by starting center Nikola Vucevic’s ankle injury, which has caused him to miss the last five games. In his absence, however, guard Evan Fournier has averaged 24.8 points per game, including a pair of 30-point games, to keep the Orlando offense from dipping further below league average. The Magic play physical on both ends of the court – on defense, making life difficult around the rim for opposing offenses – and on offense, getting to the free throw line with regularity. The Wizards get nearly a third of their points from beyond the arc and rank last in the league in free throw attempts. The result of Tuesday’s game could very well come down to which team is able to best impose their play style on their opponent. If the Wizards can get out and run, challenge the Magic to score and keep them off the free throw line, their defensive deficiencies become less relevant. If Orlando forces Washington into a bogged down defensive battle, the Wizards may not be able to keep up with the Magic’s physicality.