UPDATE: Courtney Lee will get his first career start tonight for the Orlando Magic, according to Kyle Hightower of the Orlando Sentinel. Lee will start in place of Keith Bogans, who has been bothered by foot and ankle issues lately. Here's Lee on getting the opportunity to start:
"I'm definitely excited, but I just have to focus on it the same as any other game," Lee said. "I just have been going out there being prepared, knowing the situation and focusing on the personnel."
UPDATE 2: Ivan Carter of the Washington Post reports Darius Songaila will replace Andray Blatche in the Wizards' starting lineup. (HT: Bullets Forever)
|2008/2009 NBA Regular Season|
|January 6th, 2009|
|Mike James||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|Caron Butler||SG||Courtney Lee|
|Antawn Jamison||SF||Hedo Turkoglu|
|Dominic McGuire||PF||Rashard Lewis|
|Darius Songaila||C||Dwight Howard|
|November 27th: Magic 105, Wizards 90|
The Washington Wizards accomplished the improbable on Sunday afternoon, beating the juggernaut Cleveland Cavaliers thanks in large part to LeBron James' being called for traveling en route to making what would have been the game-tying basket. In a lot of ways, they did the Orlando Magic a favor. By knocking off Cleveland on the same day the Magic lost to Toronto, the Wizards ensured the Magic did not lose any ground to the Cavaliers in the standings.
So tonight, the Magic will look to thank the Wizards... by beating the pants off them. That's what they did on Thanksgiving, when Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard combined to score 46 points against a mostly helpless Washington defense. Not much has changed for Washington. It still doesn't have a reliable defensive anchor in the middle, nor does it defend the three-point line well. In Howard, the Magic have one of the league's deadliest interior scorers; in Rashard Lewis, they have the league's most prolific three-point shooter. It should add up to spell disaster for Washington...
...emphasis on the word "should." After all, the Wizards still have Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, two All-Stars capable of scoring 40+ points on any given night. And for all their defensive faults, this team still beat the Magic by holding them to a 33.8% shooting performance last season, on Hedo Turkoglu's birthday, no less. The Magic can't afford to take the Wizards, even at 7-25, lightly. I imagine they'll be extra motivated to put this game away early, given how poorly they played against Toronto on Sunday. I'm hoping for a rout1, but not exactly counting on one, either.
The tip's at 7 on FSN Florida. Enjoy. Go Magic.
1: as an aside, a rout would likely mean playing time for Washington reserve point guard Javaris Crittenton, whom many Magic fans wanted Orlando to acquire from Memphis before it traded him to Washington. Since joining the Wizards, Crittenton has played in 8 games, and has averaged 7.8 minutes per game, 0.9 points per game, 1.4 rebounds per game, 0.8 assists per game, and 1.1 turnovers per game. He's shooting 25% from the field. Kinda makes Magic fans appreciate Anthony Johnson more, no?