NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 14th (All times Eastern)
Washington Wizards (33-31) at Orlando Magic (19-47), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - John Wall and the Washington Wizards will try to pick themselves up from a two-game losing streak when they visit the Orlando Magic Friday night at Amway Center.
The Wizards have lost back-to-back games since winning eight of nine games and dropped a 98-85 decision to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. The game was tight through the first three quarters until the Bobcats scored a 29-19 advantage in the final stanza.
"I thought they were more aggressive than we were all night, both ends of the floor," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
Wall had 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting, Bradley Beal netted 18 and Marcin Gortat contributed a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds for Washington, who got just seven points from Trevor Ariza. Ariza, though, is still averaging 18.0 points since the All-Star break (11 games).
Gortat is posting 16.1 points and 11.1 rebounds since the break.
Washington is back on the road where it has a 17-15 record this season and won 14 of the previous 21 games. Wall is posting an average of 18.7 points and 8.5 assists in that time, while the Wizards are scoring 102.7 ppg.
The Wizards are sixth in the East, just a half-game behind Brooklyn.
Orlando enters Friday's tilt with the Southeast-rival Wizards having lost four in a row and five of the last six games.
In a 120-112 setback versus the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, Arron Afflalo scored 24 points and Nikola Vucevic added 20 points and 16 rebounds. Jameer Nelson scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half, but it wasn't enough to keep the Magic from falling to 15-17 as the host.
Denver outscored Orlando 54-40 down low and had a 52-38 advantage in rebounds. The Nuggets erased a 40-27 deficit in the first half, led 52-50 at halftime and had three players score 20 or more points (Kenneth Faried, 26, Wilson Chandler, 21, J.J. Hickson, 20).
"Their bigs were really effective at getting the ball in the paint and scoring," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said.
After the Magic host the Wizards, they will head west for four games against Golden State, Phoenix, Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Washington has beaten Orlando twice this season -- both games in D.C. -- and the Southeast foes will clash again April 11 in central Florida. The Wizards have struggled in Orlando lately, losing seven straight and 10 of 11 trips there.
Wall is averaging 21.5 points, 10.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds in two games versus Orlando this season.
03/14 10:26:13 ET