It’s a battle of Southeast Division teams on the hardwood in the nation’s capital. The Orlando Magic is on the road as they make the trip to face the Washington Wizards Saturday night. Orlando opened their season with a 113-107 home victory over Miami Wednesday night to get off on the right foot. Washington battled but ended up on the wrong end of a 113-107 road defeat at the hands of the 76ers on Wednesday night in their latest contest. The Magic owns a 71-53 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the teams and won all four meetings last season. That includes a 123-89 home victory in the most recent meeting on January 8, 2020.
Orlando Magic Looking to Remain Unbeaten
Orlando opened their season against the defending Eastern Conference champion Heat but managed to come up with the victory to start the season strong. The Magic now goes on the road looking to earn a second straight divisional victory in this contest. Against Miami, Orlando was in a tight game throughout with neither side leading by more than nine points at any point of the contest. The Magic trailed by two after the opening quarter, led by three at the half and trailed by four after three quarters. Orlando turned it on in the fourth quarter, outscoring Miami 34-24 in the stanza, including an 11-3 run late in the fourth quarter, to get the victory.
In the game, the Magic shot 47.7 percent from the field, including 10 of 28 from three-point range, and overcame misfiring on 11 of their 30 free throw attempts. Orlando also shook off 17 turnovers and allowing Miami to shoot 50.6 percent from the floor in part by forcing 22 Heat turnovers. The Magic converted those turnovers into 24 points. Evan Fournier led the Magic with 25 points in the victory. Aaron Gordon finished with 20 points, Terrence Ross chipped in 19 points off the bench while Nikola Vucevic (11 rebounds) and Markelle Fultz each finished with 15 points in the victory. Rookies Cole Anthony (six points, six assists) and Chuma Okeke (three points, five rebounds) each got to see their first NBA action and will be a major part of Steve Clifford’s rotation going forward.
Washington Wizards Try to Rebound From Home Defeat
Washington was active in the offseason, shipping John Wall out and acquiring Russell Westbrook to play alongside Bradley Beal. Things didn’t look all that different in the season opener for the Wizards as they ended up falling short on the road against the 76ers. Washington trailed by four after the opening quarter before rallying to lead by one at the half and by 10 after three quarters. Things fell apart in the final stanza as the Wizards were outscored 40-24 in the fourth quarter. The game was tied at 103 with 1:28 to play in the contest but Washington was outscored 10-4 the rest of the way and ended up with the loss.
For the game, the Wizards shot 45.9 percent from the field, connecting on 13 of their 27 three-point attempts. Washington went only 16 of 23 at the charity stripe, was beaten 47-40 on the glass, and turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 24 Philadelphia points. Bradley Beal paced the Wizards with 31 points and four steals in the defeat. Westbrook recorded a triple-double with 21 points, 11 rebounds plus 15 assists while Davis Bertans kicked in 14 off the bench. Thomas Bryant was the other Wizards player in double figures with 10 points in the loss. Washington needs to get more from their bench group other than Bertans: the other five Wizards that came off the pine combined for 19 points in 78 minutes of action.