Well, at least things can’t get any worse.
The Magic dropped their eighth consecutive game, 19th of their previous 22, but the major story was broken by Shams Charania when he announced the broken wrist suffered by yet another Magic starter:
Sources: Orlando center Nikola Vucevic is expected to undergo surgery on his fractured left hand and be sidelined 6-to-8 weeks. Vucevic is averaging 17.8 points and 9.6 rebounds this season for Magic.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 24, 2017
Nikola Vucevic fractured the metacarpal of his left index finger and will need surgery. One source describe him as out “indefinitely,” though most on the Twitter have described it as a six to eight week injury.
Bismack Biyombo is set to anchor the starting unit and defense, though the Wizards still managed to shoot 55% from the field in his presence.
“You’ve got to deal with it. Nobody feels sorry for you. But you’ve got to manage that and keep the expectations of playing hard and playing together as your main focus,” said Wizards’ coach Scott Brooks, who expressed his respect for Magic Coach Frank Vogel.
“He’s an excellent coach that works hard and he’s about the right things. Nobody in this league — nobody in this league — can win with all their best players hurt, no matter who you have as a coach.
But here we are, making excuses. The Magic sit at 11-23 after an electrifying 8-4 start.
Evan Fournier has missed eight with his ankle, though he warmed up with the team before the contest.
Aaron Gordon is close to being back, and was spotted working the stationary bike.
Magic can expect to see Terrence Ross back soon, and Jonathan Isaac is considered day to day:
“Feeling OK. It’s the same thing: day-to-day. Hopefully, I’ll get back soon.”
Frank Vogel is optimistic he’ll see at least some of these guys by Tuesday night’s clash with the southern rival, Miami Heat, but one thing is for sure, it might be too little too late for a plummeting team who hasn’t caught a glimpse of the playoffs since 2012.
In the preview we broke down the hot shooting experienced by Mike Scott in recent weeks and he did not disappoint with 18 points on 7/8 shooting in just 17 minutes.
Likewise, we talked about John Wall’s slow return and he looked sloppy again on 3 for 9 from the field and just 10 points.
But it was more than enough as Washington had seven players with nine or more points and shot 53% from three point range.
Elfrid Payton padded the stat sheet with 30 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, four steals and just three turnovers on 11/16 shooting, and 8/8 from the free throw line.
He was assisted by Mario Hezonja’s 16, Jonathon Simmons 14 and Wes Iwundu’s 12.
Overall the Magic shot 30% from three on 26 shots, and were outrebounded an astonishing 49-28.
On a lighter note, Jamel Artis got to play for the home crowd, bought eight tickets for family and friends and was quoted by Orlando Sentinel:
“It’s a special moment, I’m 45 minutes away from home. I’ve got family and friends that always thought I could be in the NBA, and now I’m here. I dreamed about this probably a million times.”
Next up the Magic head to Miami to face off against the Heat:
Tuesday, 12/26 7:30pm eastern
The Magic are hopeful three of their stars can return, because if they don’t, they may find themselves fighting for the #1 spot in next summer’s NBA Draft.