Opening Statements: Wizards vs Magic, Game 57
Gortat vs. Vučević.
Booker vs. Harris.
Ariza vs. Harkless.
Beal vs. Oladipo.
Wall vs. Nelson.
The Wizards have the edge in these marketable head-to-head battles (yes, #sarcasmFont), even without Nene, which is why they’re favored by 9.5 points. … That plus the news that the Magic will again be without one of their most productive players, Arron Afflalo (foot), and that they haven’t won on the road in nearly two months, losing by an average of 14 points per game. If the Magic fall to the Wizards tonight, they’ll set a new franchise record for most consecutive road losses in a season (16).
The Wizards should expect to wake up tomorrow above .500. But will they? Magic Basketball’s managing editor, Eddy Rivera (@erivera7), joins TAI for a quick preview.
Teams: Wizards vs. Magic
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Verizon Center, Chinatown, Washington, D.C.
Television: CSN // FS Florida
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/THE FAN-FM 106.7 // ESPN 580 AM
Spread: Wizards favored by 9.5 points.
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Q #1: Big Baby is out. Were you upset the the Magic weren’t able to trade him?
@erivera7: Not really. As has been reported, general manager Rob Hennigan tried to trade Glen Davis at the deadline but was unable to make a deal. I’m sure the Magic would have preferred getting an asset or two for Big Baby, but it’s not the end of the world that they didn’t. It didn’t help that the trade market was quiet.
Q #2: Who’s Tobias Harris, the new starter at power forward?
@erivera7: Harris is the player that Orlando acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks as part of the J.J. Redick trade at the deadline last season. To say that the Magic won that deal would be an understatement. Harris has proven to be a dynamite stretch-4 with loads of potential. A poor man’s Carmelo Anthony.
Q #3: Give us an update on Victor Oladipo.
@erivera7: One of the main reasons why Orlando bought-out Davis was to make room for Harris to be the full-time power forward, a position that he thrived in last season after arriving from Milwaukee. An ancillary reason was to plug Oladipo back into the starting lineup. The move paid off dividends immediately against the New York Knicks.
Q #4: The Magic have found a way to lose 15 straight games on the road, scoring just 93.6 per game (which would be the third worst per game average in the NBA). What’s going on? Is it the Florida water?
@erivera7: To go even deeper into the numbers, the Magic’s efficiency differential on the road is minus-10.6, which is third-worst in the NBA (only the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz are worse). The problem is everything. They can’t score. They can’t defend. Orlando plays with energy and effort at home, but not on the road. Chalk it up to inexperience.
Q #5: In the first matchup between these teams this season, the Wizards scored a big, 18-point win at home. Buuuuuuut Nene’s out. What Orlando’s gameplan this time?
@erivera7: The Magic are lucky, because there’s a strong chance that Nene would have eaten Tobias Harris alive in that matchup. The game plan for Orlando should be to not get blown out and at least make it a competitive game. Even with Nene out, the Magic still have to try to slow down John Wall and company.