home 2015-16, Blogs, Game Coverage PREGAME: Wizards vs. Magic

PREGAME: Wizards vs. Magic

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Regular Season Game 8

Orlando (4-5) at Washington (3-4)

November 14, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

January 21, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington: Wizards 88, Magic 87
READ: Game Notebook 1, Wizards at Magic: Let The MVP Conversations Commence


What to watch

De-Ja-Vucevic.

The Orlando Magic will be the first team that the Wizards play for a second time this season. The first game was a nail-biter that came down to the wire and ended with a dramatic one point Wizards win. Expect more of the same. Not just because Orlando has good young talent, and because the two teams now have some familiarity, but because Orlando has a propensity for playing games that come down to the wire and end in dramatic fashion.

Through ten games, the Magic have played two games decided at the final second of regulation, one overtime game, and one double-overtime. Their last game was nine point win, which means they’re due for another nail biter.


Key matchup

Wizards Bigs vs. Nikola Vucevic

After a career year last year, Vucevic is at it again. Though injuries have limited his minutes this year, his production has remained (Eastern Conference) All-Star level. Per 36 minutes, he’s at 19 points per game, 9 rebounds per game, and hitting career highs of 3 assists per game and 53% shooting. He also did this two games ago:

Stopping Vucevic is critical to beating Orlando. In the 3 victories Vucevic has played in, he’s averaged 19-9-3. In his 4 losses, he’s averaged just 14-7-2, including a subpar 10-7-2 game in their first match-up with the Wizards. There’s a good chance his final stat line will give you a fair idea of the final result.


X-Factor

Injuries.

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Washington’s staring 2-guard Bradley Beal is questionable with a shoulder injury. Orlando’s starting 2-guard Victor Oladipo is out with a concussion.

And so it begins. The 82 game NBA season is long and arduous and health becomes a major factor for every team, for better or for worse. With Beal and Oladipo out, there will be a lot of points for the rest of the guys to pick up.

Look for Gary Neal to attack, and have the green light to fire, as he tries to fill in for the Wizards leading scorer. Also, look for John Wall to be very aggressive as a scorer, and in general. Wall is coming off a poor performance in a bad loss, and you can be sure he will be trying to make up for that performance ASAP.


Fun factor

Hair. Kelly Oubre Jr. Elfrid Payton. Evan Fournier. A number of guys in this game have haircuts international soccer stars would be proud of. Payton’s alone can be captivating for an entire 48 minutes, as you catch various camera angles, close-ups, zooms in and out of timeouts, etc. Does he do it like that on purpose? Or does he do nothing and it just gets like that? Does he think it looks good? Does his girl think it looks good? Does anyone think it looks good? Did he lose a bet? Is he just trolling everyone? I have no answer, but I fully approve.

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Prediction

Wizards rebound from their OKC debacle with another gratifying, but stressful victory over the Magic.

we are Hoop District

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