NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 11th (All times Eastern)
Washington Wizards (40-38) at Orlando Magic (23-55), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Wizards will try to reclaim that sixth seed in the Eastern Conference Friday night when they travel to the Amway Center to take on Southeast Division rivals, the Orlando Magic.
Washington has dropped two straight. Couple that with the Charlotte Bobcats' five-game winning streak and the two perennial playoff-missers are tied for the sixth seed. Both teams are three games behind the Brooklyn Nets for fifth place.
The two postseason-bound squads met in our nation's capital on Wednesday and Charlotte left with a 94-88 overtime victory. That win gave the Bobcats the tiebreaker advantage over the Wizards by virtue of a 3-1 head-to-head record this season.
John Wall posted his third career triple-double in the setback with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Marcin Gortat also stuffed the stat sheet, contributing 27 points with 14 boards as Washington suffered its second straight loss.
"It doesn't matter who we're going to play in the first round (of the playoffs), if we're going to play like this, we're not going to win games, bottom line," Gortat said of his team's recent struggles.
Wizards center Nene scored 10 points off the bench in his first action in 21 games. He was out with sprained knee ligament.
Washington is headed to the postseason for the first time since 2008 and will go for its first season sweep of the Magic in franchise history.
The Magic have won two straight despite another trip to the lottery. On Saturday, the Magic knocked off the Minnesota Timberwolves and on Wednesday, Orlando dealt the Brooklyn Nets a 115-111 setback.
Arron Afflalo scored 25, but Kyle O'Quinn made the play of the game with a big block on Joe Johnson.
The Magic led by as many as 16 in the game but were clinging to a 112-109 lead when O'Quinn stepped out on Johnson to block his 3-point attempt on the high left side.
After Afflalo made 1-of-2 from the foul line at the other end with 9.2 seconds remaining, Maurice Harkless fouled Mirza Teletovic on a 3-point try, giving him three free throws.
But Teletovic made only two, cutting Brooklyn's deficit to 113-111, and Jameer Nelson knocked down a pair for Orlando to seal the win.
E'Twaun Moore scored 17 points off the bench for Orlando, including 14 in a row in the second quarter to ignite a 21-3 run that gave Orlando its 16-point lead.
Tobias Harris added 16 points and Nelson and O'Quinn scored 14 and 13 in that order.
"Our goal is to be better at the end of the year than we were at the beginning and it's a sign of maturity for us to get control of games and make plays at the end," said Moore.
Despite the record this season, Washington has lost 10 of its last 12 in Orlando.
04/11 10:40:16 ET