Regular Season Game 82
Wizards (43-38) at Magic (24-57)
April 11, 2018 at 8:00 PM
Amway Center | Orlando, FL
Radio: 1500 AM
Odds: WSH -5.5
(Photo: Ned Dishman via Getty Images)
What to Watch:
Playoff Picture Taking Shape
The Washington Wizards have played 81 games so far and the final one is Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic. Much like their opponent, the Wizards’ season has been under-achieving and mostly a disappointment with inconsistent examples of success. Nevertheless, the Wizards have one last game to find out who their opponent will be in the playoffs. This game will give the Wizards the opportunity to play competitive basketball against a team they should defeat without any issues. In addition, it is worth mentioning that Washington is currently the eight-seed hoping to land the six or seven seed. If they get out of the cellar of the playoff, they do not have to face the Toronto Raptors in the first-round.
Nikola Vucevic vs. Marcin Gortat
Orlando is playing for nothing, so they may have a loose mentality and it is not far-fetched seeing them playing this game at a high level. In the last seven games he has played, the Magic’s big man, Nikola Vucevic, is averaging 15.4 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Even in the defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night, he led the team with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Marcin Gortat must bring his best defense and not allow Vucevic to dominate. If he is scoring and grabbing boards, this increases the potential for the Magic to hang around in this one, which is the last thing the Wizards want or need.
Regardless of the playoff picture, the Wizards need to play unified, team basketball. As of late, this team has struggled and has not shown that they are even worthy to be in the playoffs. Washington has beaten Orlando three times already this season and the fourth time should not be that difficult. Key word, should. At the same time, it is their mindset and approach to this game that means a lot. This team should come out playing hard and making a statement that they should be taken seriously this postseason. However, if they underperform and this game is the reason why they remain as the eight-seed, it will tell a lot of about this team’s chemistry among other things.
Kelly Oubre’s Stroke Is Back
It is well documented that the wing has been struggling from the field. However, right before the playoffs, Oubre has found the bottom of the basket. Tuesday night against Boston, he was 3-for-4 from downtown and had a total of 11 points in 29 minutes. With Scott Brooks already stating that All-Star guard John Wall will likely be out on Wednesday, the Wizards must find some extra scoring and Oubre can provide that against the Magic in a game that is vital to playoff seeding.
As much as the Wizards are frowned upon because of their numerous number of bad losses this season, this team wins when they need to. With so much on the line, Washington will come out and defeat the Magic. Additionally, they will play so well that their starters will get a chance to rest towards the end of the game. They may carry the persona that they are “too cool for school;” however, they understand the significance of this game and the postseason which starts in a few days.