The Wizards and Magic have started their seasons on opposite sides of the expectation spectrum. After two straight playoff runs, the Wizards are 11th in the Eastern Conference standings. Orlando, on the other hand, comes into Friday's game as the 5th best team in the East, after missing the playoffs for the last three years as they've rebuilt in the post-Dwight Howard era.
Despite their reversal in fortunes, the Wizards have still won both their meetings against the Magic this season. They won the season opener in Orlando thanks to a monster game from John Wall. They won the second meeting in Washington thanks to Kris Humphries, who went 5-5 from beyond the arc on the way to a 23 point performance.
A win tonight would go a long way to support the idea the Wizards still have what it takes to beat a playoff-level team on a consistent basis. If nothing else, it would help the Wizards keep their streak alive against the Magic. They've won 10 straight against Orlando.
When: 7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 1, 2016.
Where: Verizon Center
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic for people in the DMV area, Fox Sports Florida for people in Magic country.
Radio: 99.1 WNEW in Washington, ESPN 580 in Orlando.
Alan Anderson, Bradley Beal, Gary Neal, and Nene are still out. DeJuan Blair is questionable for the Wizards. Drew Gooden is active tonight, but no word on if he'll play.
C.J. Watson is out for the Magic. Elfrid Payton will be good to go for tonight's game, despite a sore ankle.
Elfrid Payton (ankles) is good to play against the #Wizards tonight, #Magic coach Scott Skiles said.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) January 1, 2016
Most likely Wizards Killer
Mario Hezonja is shooting 41.7 percent from beyond the arc as a rookie. More importantly, he's 5-9 against the Wizards. He's a talented shooter, he has a quick trigger, and odds are he'll get a high quantity and quality of looks.