Bradley Beal
Wizards-Magic Preview
Bradley Beal

Wizards-Magic Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 8:08 p.m. ET

Even though the Orlando Magic are a much-improved team and the Washington Wizards have regressed, it hasn't stopped the latter's dominance over the former.

The frustration was evident from Orlando's Victor Oladipo the last time these teams met.

Oladipo will likely be tasked with trying to slow down John Wall on Saturday night as the Magic seek to end an 11-game slide against the visiting Wizards.

Orlando (20-17) is only five wins shy of its total from last season while Washington (15-19) is one of the league's bigger disappointments after two straight appearances in the Eastern Conference semifinals as the Wizards play without injured shooting guard Bradley Beal.


The constant has been Washington's mastery of the Magic with three wins this season as the Wizards seek a third straight four-game sweep.

Even a change in the calendar didn't change those fortunes, with the Wizards cruising to a 103-91 win on New Year's Day. Wall had 24 points and 13 assists and dominated his matchup with Orlando starting point guard Elfrid Payton.

That defeat dropped Oladipo, a Washington area native, to 0-9 against the Wizards and he wasn't happy about it.

"We have to realize that they've been punking us, really," he said afterward. "Until we get tired of them punking us, we're never going to beat them."

The streak precedes the arrival of first-year coach Scott Skiles.

"This is a years-long thing. This isn't just this season. I don't know. I don't know if guys are intimidated by them. I have no idea," Skiles said.

One explanation is that Wall is averaging 19.1 points and 10.5 assists with nine double-doubles in this streak. This time, he likely won't face Payton, who has missed the last three games with a left ankle contusion.

Oladipo is starting in Payton's place, averaging 19.3 points on 60.0 percent shooting in that span. He posted his second straight 20-point effort in Friday's 83-77 victory at Brooklyn that ended a four-game slide, with Nikola Vucevic also scoring 20.

The Magic still are struggling offensively, shooting 39.8 percent Friday. They are averaging 85.6 points on 42.1 percent shooting in the last five games.

''We came out of the gate pretty sharp,'' Skiles said. ''We were really moving the ball again and then our bench came in and kind of buzz-killed it a bit.''

Washington lost its third straight by capping a four-game homestand with Friday's 97-88 defeat to Toronto. Wall had 21 points but also had seven turnovers to four assists as the Wizards shot 39.3 percent.

''The last three games, we take periods of games and we take shortcuts. We try to take easy ways out. We don't make hustle plays,'' coach Randy Wittman said.

The inconsistent Garrett Temple has started the last 10 games in place of Beal. When he scores at least 20 points in that span, the Wizards are 3-1 and shooting 50.3 percent. When he doesn't, they have gone 2-4 and shot 41.5 percent.

"For us to get back on this winning track, something is going to have to change," forward Jared Dudley said.

Wizards forward Kris Humphries is uncertain after missing two straight games with a sore right knee.

Washington is 2-5 in the second of back-to-back games and Orlando is 2-4.


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