HEADLINE

Magic bring 8-game win streak into rematch vs. Wizards

Field Level Media

November 30, 2023 at 7:54 pm.

These are heady times for the Orlando Magic, who can match the franchise record for most consecutive wins when they face the visiting Washington Wizards on Friday.

Orlando is seeking its ninth straight win after beating Washington 139-120 on Wednesday. Franz Wagner scored a season-high 31 points in the victory, while Jalen Suggs added a season-high 22.

Orlando’s dominant performance included season highs in field goal percentage (60.7 percent), 3-point percentage (63 percent) and assists (34). Cole Anthony also contributed 25 points off the bench.

Anthony has been a key figure during the winning streak, averaging 20.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists over his last six games.

The Magic last won nine straight games during the 2010-11 season, but Suggs said he is only focused on the team’s rematch against the Wizards.

“You start analyzing the schedule and things like that, you start to lose,” Suggs said. “Attention to detail, I think that’s one thing that’s made this run, and this start of the season, so special for us. We’re so locked in in any situation.”

Washington has lost 10 of its last 11 games and will need an improved defensive effort to keep pace with the Magic. Kyle Kuzma scored 23 points in Wednesday’s loss and Deni Avdija added 22, but the Wizards allowed Orlando to shoot 17 of 27 from 3-point range.

“I give them credit — they play at a high level,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “We tried to amp up the pressure a little bit, which opened up some threes, but they move the ball. They’re set and ready; we just have to get there with a little more urgency. … I didn’t think we had a strong defensive presence. There were some stretches but just not enough. Not enough consistency there.”

Washington guard Jordan Poole made four 3-pointers and scored 19 points in the loss. The fifth-year pro has scored at least 19 points in four of his last five games.

Avdija exited Wednesday’s game in the fourth quarter with a right forearm injury, but the Wizards do not expect him to miss any time.

Kuzma is averaging a team-high 23.4 points to lead Washington, which is 3-15 and has already endured losing streaks of four and nine games.

“It (stinks) to lose, and we’ve been losing real bad,” Kuzma said earlier this week. “It’s definitely tough.”

While the Wizards are searching for answers, Orlando is poised for long-term success after hitting on multiple draft picks. Suggs, Wagner and Paolo Banchero were each high draft picks who are exceeding expectations.

The trio is part of a deep lineup that averages 114.1 points per game while boasting the league’s third-best defensive rating (107.6) entering Thursday.

Orlando has also recorded more than 30 assists in three of its last five games.

“I love it,” Suggs said. “When we play that style of basketball — moving the ball quick, forcing closeout situations, and then just finding the right basketball play — it leads to good things for us. It’s a fun style to play. Everyone’s touching it. Everyone’s cooking. It doesn’t matter who is having a hot night because it’s leading to wins. Really that’s all that matters. Everyone’s embracing that.”