The Orlando Magic look to extend their recent success tonight, on the second night of a back-to-back set, against the banged-up Washington Wizards. Orlando spanked the Wizards in its season-opener, cruising to a 112-83 victory as Washington simply couldn't take away anything the Magic wanted to do offensively, while settling for low-percentage jump shots at the other end. It's hard to figure that situation will change tonight, but obviously, nothing is a given in professional sports.
The Wizards do two things well, one thing just sort of OK, and everything else pretty poorly. Thanks to the crazy athleticism of JaVale McGee and the strength of Andray Blatche, they're among the league's best offensive rebounding teams. And they play the passing lanes well, forcing a very good amount of turnovers. They also, surprisingly, do a decent job of defending without fouling. But they don't shoot, take care of the ball, or draw fouls, so it's hard for them to muster points efficiently. The Magic's top-ranked defense should not have much trouble tonight, but again, you never really know.
I credit coach Flip Saunders for thinking outside the box when it comes to putting his team in position to win, though Mike Prada of Bullets Forever thinks it's time for him to junk the three-guard lineup and zone defense.
Potentially hurting the Wizards tonight? Franchise point guard John Wall is doubtful to play. I was skeptical of Wall's ability to make an immediate impact right away, but so far he's having a solid rookie year, with per-game averages of 18 points, 9.1 assists, and 2.8 steals. Orlando had success going under the screens set for him in the first meeting, turning him into a jump-shooter. That's key to stopping him in the halfcourt, because he's yet to soften his touch from the outside. The real issue is getting back defensively off makes and misses, because he just kills teams with his speed in the open floor. Indeed, Jameer Nelson called Wall "the fastest point guard in the world" after that opening-night victory.
|2010/2011 NBA Season|
|11-4 (3-2 road) |
|5-9 (5-2 home) |
|November 27th, 2010|
|Fox Sports Florida / NBA TV|
|Jameer Nelson||PG||John Wall|
|J.J. Redick||SG||Gilbert Arenas|
|Quentin Richardson||SF||Kirk Hinrich|
|Rashard Lewis||PF||Andray Blatche|
|Dwight Howard||C||JaVale McGee|
|October 28th: Magic 112, Wizards 83|
|2010/11 Advanced Stats|
|92.5 (17th)||Pace||93.1 (15th)|
|107.1 (14th)||ORtg||102.8 (27th)|
|99.8 (1st)||DRtg||110.4 (26th)|