Washington Wizards @ Orlando Magic


The Orlando Magic are finally starting to look like the team most thought they were going to be coming into the season. The Magic have won four games in a row and seven of their last eight. Things have not gone as well for the Wizards. They have lost two games in a row, six of their last eight and have a record of 4-10 since beating the Magic back on January 8th.

The 33-16 Magic defeated the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night while the Wizards, who are just 16-32, were blown out by the Knicks in New York on Wednesday

The Magic had a 10-point lead with 9:51 to go before the Wizards ended the game on a 33-16 run winning 104-97. The Wizards had three players score at least 20 points. The Wizards are just 7-16 on the road while the Magic have been nearly unbeatable at Amway Arena, posting a record of 19-4.

Tip-off from the Am is set for 7:00 pm EST and you can watch the game on Sun Sports. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen to it locally on WDBO AM 580 and in Spanish on WONQ AM 1030.

Both Jameer Nelson and Mickael Pietrus practiced on Thursday, but it is unknown if they will play in Friday night’s game.

Update: Per Josh Robbins, Jameer Nelson will start and Mickael Pietrus is expected to play.

The Line: Orlando – 12.5



Dwight Howard
Rashard Lewis
Matt Barnes
Vince Carter
Jameer Nelson


Brendan Haywood
Antawn Jamison
Mike Miller
DeShawn Stevenson
Randy Foye

As mentioned earlier, the Magic had a 10-point fourth quarter lead in their first meeting with the Wizards this season before allowing the Wizards to dominate down the stretch and win the game. Antawn Jamison was dominating – he had 28 points and 11 rebounds. Caron Butler added 23 points and Randy Foye scored 20. Brendan Haywood had 18 points and 15 rebounds. Dwight Howard had 23 points and 12 rebounds but was the only started to score in double figures.

Offensively, the Wizards score 97.7 points per game and rank only 22nd in offensive efficiency. Without Arenas, the Wizards have just three players that average in double figures in scoring – Antawn Jamison (20.9), Caron Butler (16.5) and Mike Miller (10.2). Mike Miller has been playing better as of late and has helped give the Wizards a boost on offense.

Washington’s defense has been bad, too. They give up 102.1 points per game and rank 23rd in efficiency.

Conversely, the Magic score 100.8 points per game and rank ninth in offensive efficiency while their improving defense gives up just 95.5 points per game and has climbed back up to fourth in defensive efficiency.

The Wizards have not been much of a rebounding team this season but back on January 8th, they dominated the Magic on the glass, outrebounding them 55-42.

Vince Carter injured his shoulder against the Wizards in the first half but had also scored seven points in the first 10 minutes. That’s a good sign for Carter, who scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had seven assists in Orlando’s victory on Tuesday. The Wizards are another team that shouldn’t have an answer for Carter’s offense, so he should be able to have another good game as long as he stays aggressive and plays like he did Tuesday night.

Dwight Howard gives Brendan Haywood a lot of credit on the defensive end, but Haywood should not be able guard Howard and his improving offensive game.

It is also the birthday of Stuff, Orlando’s mascot.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)