When: Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 6 p.m. ET
Where: Capital One Arena
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington
Wizards: Moritz Wagner (Ankle, Out), Bradley Beal (Calf, Day-to-day), Rui Hachimura (Groin, Out), Davis Bertans (Quad, Out), (Calf, Out), C.J. Miles (Wrist, Out), Thomas Bryant (Foot, Out) John Wall (Achilles, Out)
Magic: Michael Carter-Williams (Shoulder, Out), Mo Bamba (Ankle, Day-to-day), Aaron Gordon (Achilles, Day-to-day), Al-Farouq Aminu (Knee, Out)
The Wizards will attempt to avenge earlier losses to Orlando
When both teams faced each other for the first time this season in November, the Wizards lost by 4 points. In their second matchup in December, the Magic beat the Wizards by 7 points.
Washington’s top four scorers in the November game – Bradley Beal, C.J. Miles, Davis Bertans, and Thomas Bryant – are currently battling injuries. Even if one of them returns just in time for the matchup, it will be a much different game than the ones played in the last two months.
Isaiah Thomas, the ultimate veteran, will be expected to provide leadership for the squad. In addition, the Thomas, the Wizards are going to need Gary Payton II, Jordan McRae, and Ish Smith to continue to play well in order to make the game competitive.
Beal, Bertans, Bryant, and Hachimura are the team’s top four scorers so the possibility of playing without all of them, especially Beal, is a big loss to the Wizards.
Washington should focus on containing Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic
Fournier and Vucevic are leading the Magic in scoring with 19.4 and 17.7 points respectively. They are the biggest threat the Wizards, especially with Aaron Gordon potentially out due to an Achilles injury. Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz, D.J. Augustin and Terrence Ross have showed that they can get busy in the frontcourt but none of them have showed to do it consistently.