The two teams fight as Magic prepares to welcome Wizards


January 7, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, United States; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) defends Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps a visit to Orlando will help the Washington Wizards rediscover some of their pristine magic.

Orlando hosts Washington on Sunday night for the first of two meetings between rivals in the Southeast Division in four days.

The Wizards just lost 130-122 to Chicago on Friday as head coach Wes Unseld Jr. saw his club’s overall record dip below 0.500 for the first time this season.

The Magic will then play in Washington on Wednesday, marking the second leg of an eight-game homestand for the Wizards.

The Wizards have successfully cast their spell on the Eastern Conference in the first three-plus weeks of the regular season. However, Washington is 10-17 in 27 games since the teams last met, a 104-92 victory over Orlando on November 13.

Washington, which has won back-to-back games against Orlando since last season, opened the new calendar year with three losses in four games.

Bradley Beal led five double-digit starters with 26 points against Chicago, but the Bulls shot 52.7% from the field (48 for 91) and 45.5% from beyond the arc (15 for 33) in road to their ninth consecutive victory.

Spencer Dinwiddie had 18 points, converting 9 of 9 free throws and four assists in 31 minutes on Friday. Dinwiddie returned to the Washington roster after missing four games due to league health and safety protocol.

Washington was 23rd in the defensive standings (110.9) when it came on Saturday – Orlando followed two spots to 112.7 – while the Wizards held just three opponents below 100 points after their victory November 13.

“I just didn’t think our effort and focus was there tonight on the defensive end of the ball,” Unseld said after the Chicago loss. “And I approached him after the game. Our care factor needs to be better. You just have to. We saw at the start of the year where we could be and how we can play when we keep, and we haven’t seen it since. So, this is probably the most frustrating thing for me.

The Wizards’ injury report included three players listed as questionable for Sunday: Montrezl Harrell (COVID-19 protocol), Davis Bertans (left foot) and Rui Hachimura (reconditioning after protocol).

The Magic’s losing streak hit an eight-game high with a 97-92 loss to Detroit on Saturday night.

Guard Gary Harris, a Michigan State product, recorded a season-high 28 points, making six of Orlando’s 14 2 points, and Cole Anthony added 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

However, the Pistons dominated Orlando 56-30 inside the 3-point line.

Franz Wagner saw his double-digit scoring streak end at 21. Wagner, who sprained his left ankle in Wednesday’s 116-106 home loss to Philadelphia, totaled nine points on a shot 4 against 10 in 28 minutes against the Pistons. .

The Magic’s four losses in January resulted in a total of 24 points as they continue to be healthy, although Wendell Carter Jr. was sidelined on Saturday with hamstring pain.

“They (the losses) are stinging right now, but these guys continue to compete on the home stretch,” Orlando head coach Jamahl Mosley said on Saturday. “These are valuable lessons to learn as we figure out what to do in late game situations with execution, get our shots and how we have to play down the home stretch.”

– Media at field level

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