Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images
Wizards welcome Magic for season series finale
The Wizards will continue their five-game, eight-day homestand against the Magic on Wednesday night at 7:00 P.M. With a win, the Wizards will clinch the season series against the Magic, who enter Wednesday’s game two and a half games up on Washington. The Wizards have won 13 of the last 14 home matchups against the Magic.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Tomas Satoransky, G – Bradley Beal, F – Trevor Ariza, F – Jeff Green, C – Bobby Portis
Magic: G – D.J. Augustin, G – Evan Fournier, F – Jonathan Isaac, F – Aaron Gordon, C – Nikola Vucevic
Wizards: Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – out), John Wall (left Achilles tendon tear – out)
Magic: Mo Bamba (stress fracture, left tibia – out), Isaiah Briscoe (torn right meniscus – out), Markelle Fultz (thoracic outlet syndrome – out), Timofey Mozgov (right knee surgery – out)
Keep it rolling (and running) at home
The Wizards won the first of their five upcoming games at home on Monday, defeating the Kings. Washington was able to score 25 points off 16 Sacramento turnovers, make 14 3-pointers, tie the rebounding battle, and defend the perimeter well. Washington will need to follow a similar script against the Magic, but, unlike the Kings, the Magic don’t play as fast as the Wizards. This game will be a battle of pace, as the Wizards have the fifth-fastest pace since the All-Star break and the Magic have played at the fourth-slowest. Since acquiring Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis, Washington has been playing very fast, utilizing multiple ball-handlers and mobile bigs.
Defending Vucevic, rebounding battle
Beating the Magic starts with stopping All-Star Nikola Vucevic, who enters this game averaging 20.7 points, 12.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. Vucevic is grabbing 2.8 offensive rebounds per game, which will be a point of emphasis for the Wizards. As a team, the Magic have the fourth-best defensive rebounding percentage in the NBA, but rank 25th in offensive rebounding percentage. Scott Brooks and his players have emphasized that rebounding is the key to winning games the rest of the way, and the Wizards will be dialed in on the boards once again on Wednesday. Washington is 18-4 this season when tying or out-rebounding its opponents.
Tiebreaker at stake
After Orlando won the first game of the season series, Washington has won two games in a row and will have a chance to take the season series on Wednesday. Considering both teams are fighting for a playoff spot in the East, winning the tiebreaker against the Magic would give the Wizards an advantage down the stretch. Trailing the Magic by two and a half games, a Wizards win on Wednesday would be the equivalent of a two-game swing with only four weeks of regular season basketball to go.