Orlando (46-20) at Washington (21-42)

Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 85° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Sat Mar 13, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Orlando Magic have handily beaten some bad teams recently. The Washington Wizards, though, have not been one of them.

With a chance to win eight straight for the first time in nearly four years, the Magic look to avoid their third loss of the season to the lowly Wizards on Saturday night.

Orlando (46-20) is winning by an average of 18.7 points during its streak, which it extended with a 111-82 rout of Chicago on Thursday.

The Bulls were just the latest subpar team to get beaten by the Magic, who mixed in a big win against the Lakers with victories over the Clippers, Golden State, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami.

That run has helped Orlando move within five games of Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland while taking a four-game lead over Atlanta in the race for the Southeast Division title.

“Right now, we’re trying to play the best basketball we can,” Magic guard Vince Carter(notes) said. “Hopefully, roll it into the playoffs.”

A victory over Washington (21-42) would give Orlando eight straight victories for the first time since April 2006. The Magic, though, have shot 40.7 percent while losing each of the first two meetings with the Wizards.

Orlando has not been able to take advantage of strong performances from Dwight Howard(notes), who averaged 21.5 points and 15.0 rebounds while shooting 63.0 percent in those contests.

The Magic easily handled the Bulls even though Howard was limited to 12 points and six rebounds.

“It’s good to see guys are coming back and rebounding instead of just relying on me the whole time,” Howard told the Magic’s official Web site. “It feels good knowing that when the other bigs come into the game - Marcin (Gortat), Brandon (Bass), Ryan (Anderson) - those guys are rebounding. It makes our team a lot better.”

The Magic hope to have even more depth with swingman Mickael Pietrus(notes) close to returning. Pietrus, who has missed four straight games due to a neck injury, is day to day.

Orlando, though, may be able to afford to give him some extra rest as it faces a Washington team that is trying to avoid a season-high seventh straight loss.

The Wizards are averaging 86.3 points and 18.5 turnovers while shooting 20.0 percent from 3-point range during their third six-game skid.

Washington fell 101-87 to Detroit on Friday in a matchup of two of the East’s worst teams. Andray Blatche(notes) was one of the few bright spots for the Wizards with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

Blatche is averaging 23.9 points and 10.3 rebounds in 13 games since moving into the starting lineup, but has been held to a total of 12 points against the Magic this season. Blatche and JaVale McGee(notes) will be counted on to defend Howard.

It will be a tough task for the Wizards, who are playing for the third straight day and begin a four-game western swing Monday in Utah.

“We can’t make excuses because of the schedule,” guard Mike Miller(notes) said. “We have to keep playing.”

Related Articles

Team Stat Leaders



Saturday, Mar 13