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Wizards begin stretch at home against Magic

December 5, 2016
Game Info 

Verizon Center | 7:00pm | CSN | 1500 AM 

Probable Starters 

Wizards (7-12): G – Wall, G – Beal, F – Porter, F – Morris, C – Gortat

Magic (9-12): G – Augustin, G – Fournier, F – Gordon, F – Ibaka, C - Biyombo

MedStarWizWizards: Mahinmi (knee) - Questionable | House (wrist) - Out  

Magic: None

Last Time Out 

12/5/16: Wizards 118 – Nets 113

The Wizards rallied from down 15 at the half to come back and beat the Nets 118-113. Behind John Wall's 25 points and 13 assists, Washington scored 67 points in the second half and ended a three-game road trip with a win. 12/4/16: Magic 98 – Pistons 92

The Magic, behind Serge Ibaka’s 21 points and four blocks, held the Pistons to only 65 points in the last 39.5 minutes of the game en route to a 98-92 win.

Last Time vs. Orlando

11/25/16: Wizards 94, Magic 91

John Wall’s double-double (26 points, 10 assists) led the way to a 94-91 victory over the Magic in Orlando. The Wizards had a 19-point lead and fought off the Magic’s late comeback as Wall shut the door.

What to Watch For 

Wall on a tear

John Wall is playing at an All-Star level once again for the Wizards this season. He had a big game last time out against the Magic, and closed the door on the Magic like he has in most of Washington’s wins this season. The Wizards’ offense elevates to another level when Wall’s scoring gets going, and opens up passing lanes most point guards could only imagine. His defense has been impressive as well this season, as he has held the players he has guarded to under 40% shooting from the field. Wall enters Tuesday’s game with four straight double-doubles (points, assists), and six in his last seven games. The three-time All-Star is averaging 20.1 points and 12.0 assists per game during that stretch.  

New Magic rotations

The Magic are 3-2 since head coach Frank Vogel made three changes in his starting lineup: D.J. Augustin now starts at point guard for Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon is at small forward instead of Jeff Green, and Bismack Biyombo is starting at center for Nikola Vucevic. Vogel made this change after the Wizards’ win over the Magic on November 25, and the new lineup has been more successful, especially defensively. The Magic have held opponents to 95 points or less in four straight games (3-1 in those games) with this lineup, including a 95-83 win over the Spurs. Even though the Wizards have played the Magic twice already this season, it will be Washington’s first look at this new starting lineup. It will also be key for the Wizards’ bench to step up against Payton, Green and Vucevic, though the Magic will mix and match their lineups often.

Beginning of six of seven games at home

Tuesday marks the beginning of a big stretch of home games for the Wizards in the next two weeks, as Washington will play six of their next seven games at home. The Wizards have played much better at home (5-5) this season than on the road (2-7), and they’ll be looking to start the home stretch off hot against an opponent they’ve already faced twice this season. Expect the team to be happy to be home after a long road trip.

Key Matchup 

Markieff Morris vs. Serge Ibaka

Over his last six games, Serge Ibaka is averaging 17.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game while shooting 56.8% from the field. Ibaka had 19 points, eight rebounds and four blocks last time out against the Wizards, and it will be up to Markieff Morris to defend Ibaka’s inside-out game. With Bismack Biyombo and Aaron Gordon now in the starting lineup alongside Ibaka, the Magic have one of the top starting defensive front courts in the league. The Wizards will need Morris to create offense against Ibaka, and especially keep him out of the paint as much as possible. This season, Morris is averaging 14.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game against Orlando.