The Washington Wizards continue their two-game road trip, heading from ice-cold Windy City to sunny Orlando, Florida, to face the Magic. After back-to-back losses at home to the Rockets and at Chicago to the Bulls, the Wizards have for the first time dipped below .500 to a 19-20 record. This game offers them the perfect opportunity to get back to a split record at the mid-season mark.
When: : Sunday, January 9, 2022, 6 p.m. ET
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
How to watch: LeaguePass
How to listen: The Team 980 AM, 106.7-2 FM
Wizards: Rui Hachimura (still Out), Thomas Bryant (Out, ACL), Davis Bertans (Out, foot), Montrez Harrell, Brad Wanamaker, Tremont Waters, Anthony Gill (Out, Protocols),
Magic: Cole Anthony, Franz WagnerSF (Day-To-Day), Robin Lopez, Markelle Fultz (Out, Protocols), Jalen Suggs (Out, thumb), E’Twaun Moore (Out, knee),Michael Carter-Williams (Out, ankle), Jonathan Isaac (Out).
The Wizards are below .500 for the first time — The Wizards have prided themselves as an “above .500” team so far this season. Well, now, their inconsistency has finally brought them below .500 after losing to the tanking Houston Rockets at home. That was just the Rockets’ 4th away win. If you’re wondering, the other three came against the Thunder, Pistons and the Hawks.
This is a must win for the play-in minded Wizards — The Wizards actually are lucky to play the Magic four times this season and they must sweep the series if they have any hopes of making the playoffs. They already beat the Magic once back in November with one of Spencer Dinwiddie alpha performances (23 points, 11 dimes).
Defense — The Wizards seem to have lost their defensive mojo. Giving up 114 points to the Rockets at home, and then 130 to the Bulls is not a good look. Gafford seems incapable of stopping big-men. Perhaps against the Magic and Mo Bamba or Wendell Carter Jr. (or maybe old friend Mo Wagner) he’ll catch a break. Robin Lopez being out with Protocols is already a kind of break, to be honest.
Flashback: Wizards beat Orlando in November
The Wizards beat the Magic back in mid November when they were on their hot streak to push their record up to 9-3. Things did look rosy back then. Here are the highlights from that night: