The Magic snapped a three game losing streak on Wednesday, comfortably beating the Lakers 127-105. The win was a result of an all-round performance at the offensive end of the floor, which saw seven different players score in double figures.
They now have a record of 15-35. They are in 14th place in the Eastern Conference standings, ahead of only the Hawks.
The Wizards had their second consecutive impressive win without John Wall when they defeated the Raptors 122-119. Bradley Beal had 27 points and six assists, while Otto Porter Jr had 16 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
They are now 29-22, having won their past three games. They are in a congested part of the standings, with only two games separating the Cavs in third and the Pacers in sixth.
Three keys to the game
Magic defense - Orlando have struggled at the defensive end of the floor all season. They concede 108.9 points per 100 possessions, less than only the Kings, the Suns and the Cavs. In the past ten games things have gotten even worse; their defensive rating is 111.4 in this time.
The Wall-less Wizards - Wall has missed 14 games so far this season, and will miss several more as he deals with an ongoing knee complaint. The Wizards have managed to cover his absence fairly well though; they are 8-6 in games without him, and have won all three since his latest setback.
Rebounding - The Wizards have been around the league average in rebounding this season, but Orlando have been woeful. They grab just 47.7% of available boards, ahead of only Dallas. They aren’t a threat on the offensive glass and struggle to secure rebounds at their own defensive end, grabbing just 75.2% of available defensive rebounds.
Matchup to watch
Evan Fournier vs Bradley Beal - Fournier is far from the superstar that Beal is, but he is a solid player having probably the best season of his career. He averages 18 points per game on 46.1% shooting, and is connecting on 40% of 3-point attempts. Beal’s 3-point strike rate of 37.6% is the lowest of his career, but he is still going at 46.1% from the floor, exactly the same as Fournier, and averaging 23.9 points and four assists per night.
Orlando Magic predicted starting lineup
PG - Elfrid Payton | SG - Evan Fournier | SF - Jonathon Simmons | PF - Marreese Speights | C - Bismack Biyombo
Washington Wizards predicted starting lineup
PG - Tomas Satoransky | SG - Bradley Beal | SF - Otto Porter Jr | PF - Markieff Morris | C - Marcin Gortat
Payton has caused plenty of problems for Washington in the two matchups between these two sides so far this season. In these two games, he averages 28.5 points on a ridiculous 71.4% shooting, nine assists and two steals.
Beal has suited up 13 times against the Magic, and in these games he has averaged 18.8 points while shooting 48.1% from the floor, and 38.9% from beyond the arc. He also contributes 3.5 assists per game in these outings.
Washington are big unders in this game, and have been given just a 3.5 point handicap by oddsmakers. They should be able to comfortably cover this line, even without one half of their star backcourt combination.
The Wizards shouldn’t have a problem taking care of business in this one. Despite the absence of Wall, they have more than enough talent to dispose of the Magic relatively easy.
Washington have won both games between these sides relatively comfortably this season, even with Payton shooting out of his skin, which is unlikely to happen again. Beal will score 30+ against a leaky Magic defense and Washington will run out comfortable victors, heading home with a 112-102 win.