Wizards Get Right Versus Wounded Magic | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards Get Right Versus Wounded Magic

Updated: December 23, 2017

IF YOU THINK the Wizards have been in funk lately, pull up a chair and listen to the tale of the Orlando Magic. Orlando started the season with eight wins in their first twelve games and looked like a surprise team in the East.

The good times did not last long. The Magic have only won three (THREE!) of their last 21 games and have seen their roster ravaged by injuries. Orlando’s inactive list is quite impressive: Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross and Jonathon Isaac.

Magic coach Frank Vogel sounded like a beaten man before the game when asked to explain the difference between his team’s fast start and its current predicament. He said he anticipated fast start and a bit of a drop off after the first 12 games when he saw the schedule over the summer (Orlando played eight of 10 road games after a somewhat easier opening slate). However, he could not have expected the cavalcade of injuries that would coincide with strength of schedule.

To hear Vogel explain it, his players are just trying to get through the day:

“Guys are trying to remain optimistic and focused and positive and trying to stay in the fight but it’s tough right now. We just got to try to find wins anywhere we can get them.”

Add all that up and the match-up versus Orlando was a perfect get-right spot for the Wizards.

Washington certainly took care of business against the short-handed Magic, scoring a season-high 130 points on 54.7% shooting, but it still remains to be seen whether they have truly righted the ship.

That’s the thing with this team – they are consistently inconsistent. Big wins are followed by big losses. And vice versa. As soon as you think they’ve turned the corner (like after their decisive win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday) they fall on their face (like their 35-point loss to Brooklyn on Friday).

Scott Brooks was asked about this maddening inconsistency after the Magic win: “Welcome to the world of coaching,” he deadpanned.

Going Back to Boston: A Christmas Story

Washington will not have to wait long to see if their 27-point drubbing of Orlando was the start of something new or more fool’s gold. The Wizards travel to Boston on Christmas day for a nationally televised rematch of their entertaining playoff series with the Celtics.

The players, for their part, are not shying away from the significance of the game. Mike Scott, who was not even on the team last year, said he watched the series and sounded excited to take part in the rivalry:

“Like a playoff game. It’s a big game to me. I wasn’t a part of this team last year but I did see it go seven games and it go back and forth. It’s going to be a big game. Intense; so I’m ready for it.”

Scott also seems ready for a little trash-talking: “It was chippy, which I love. It was turned up. It was great, back and forth, seven games. I mean, it’s what you want out of a playoff game.”

Brooks also seemed excited to get another shot at Boston in a nationally televised game: “That’s going to be a fun atmosphere [and] a fun game for all of us to be a part of.”

Brooks touched on the difficult match-ups that Boston’s position-less lineups poses:

“They have one of the best shot makers, layup makers, three-point shooters and finishers in the game in Kyrie and you have a tough matchup of Horford when he plays the 5….Tatum — it’s strange watching him play — he’s 20 years old I think and it seems like he’s been in the league for eight years, he just has a great pace.  He makes shots and has good athleticism. He’s a handful, he’s right there with rookie of the year. “

Bradley Beal said he was “beyond mad” leaving TD Garden last spring after losing Game 7 and he is ready for another shot:

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun. Just the fact that we’re playing on Christmas again, that’s an honor and a blessing itself. You know, not that many teams around the league get that opportunity every year so just embracing that. Staying locked in and knowing that this is a tough team. The best team in the East right now so we know we got to come out and be ready to go. We know it’s going to be energetic. This is the team, you know they knocked us out last year so we’re going to feel a little bit, some type of way about it. Hopefully, we can come out with that mindset, be mad, keep that same memory in the back of our heads and come out and compete and get a ‘W’.”

He’s Alive

Otto Porter was not himself in his first game back from injury in Brooklyn. Twenty-four hours later he looked much better at home. He got it going against the Magic, shooting 4-for-6 from downtown and scoring 17 points in only 22:20 minutes. This was the Otto that has been missing since the beginning of the season. Porter said after the game that he is feeling better but he is not back to 100%.

He’s Alive Too

It’s been an up and down season (mostly down) for Markieff Morris. Against Orlando, Morris was decidedly up. It wasn’t just the scoring (16 points on 6-for-10 shooting), but the hustle on the offensive and defensive ends. Kief, like Otto, is not all the way back, but he is trending in the right direction. That’s a good thing because the Wizards need a healthy and productive Markeiff Morris if they want to move past their lackadaisical start to the season.

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Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.