The Orlando Magic will try to even their season-series against the Washington Wizards at two games apiece tonight when they host the Southeast's cellar-dwellers at Amway Arena. Washington's awful season--here's one longtime fan's assessment of the keys to surviving it--has included the death of its longtime owner, the suspension of its franchise player due to an embarrassing gun incident in the team's locker room, and subsequent cap-clearing trades that robbed it of almost all its talent. The Wizards are now built around fifth-year big man Andray Blatche, and coach Flip Saunders, whom first-year assistant coach and former player Sam Cassell calls "an offensive dynamo," recently overhauled the team's offense to make Blatche its focal point. Blatche sure messed around in Washington's win against New Orleans on Sunday, but he didn't get the triple-double; D-League call-up Cartier Martin, one of the NBA-record 24 different players to suit up for Washington this season, robbed him of what would have been his 10th rebound. The rather hilarious video is here.
|2009/2010 NBA Season
|24-53 (10-28 road)
|54-23 (31-7 home)
|April 7th, 2010
|January 8th: Wizards 104, Magic 97
|February 5th: Wizards 92, Magic 91
|March 13th: Magic 109, Wizards 95
|Eddie F. Rush
The Wizards have won 3 of their last 5 games, all against lottery teams, with the rather unimposing lineup listed above. That's not a bad stretch, and it's probably inspired some confidence in them, but they also haven't faced a team of Orlando's caliber. Saunders' new Blatche-centric offense will indeed get a workout tonight against Orlando's third-ranked defense. There's always the chance that the Magic have a letdown, but they've won 15 of their last 18 games and coach Stan Van Gundy will not relent the rest of the way; he wants to continue testing his players, so expect the stars to log heavy minutes, even if it's a blowout. I expect Dwight Howard to get plenty of touches tonight against Fab Oberto, whose foul trouble often takes him off the court, and JaVale McGee, who's often overmatched against Howard. And if Vince Carter doesn't attack Nick Young off the dribble until Saunders can't afford to leave him out there, I'd be surprised.