The NBA’s Southeast Division, as mentioned in yesterday’s season preview, is not exactly a fun place to try and rebuild a team. The same can probably be said for how the team was forced to begin the 2010-2011 campaign against Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter and a Magic team opening a brand new arena. The Magic came into the game as a top team from the preseason, where they went undefeated, and the expectations are so high that some have even picked them to beat Miami and Boston to win the East.
After the first quarter, it was pretty clear that the Wiz were outmatched, and there wasn’t much good to report on after the team’s 112-83 loss in the new Amway Center. Even though John Wall posted 14 points and nine assists, one off of starting his career with a Double-Double, he still looked shaky when shooting from anywhere outside the lane. Yi Jianlian, Al Thornton, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche were bad at times, awful at others and just seemed to stand there while the Magic bigs had their way under the hoop. Orlando significantly outrebounded the Wiz, 53-25, and even though Washington came away with 21 turnovers, it wasn’t enough to overcome the body size and shooting efficiency of a major conference player.
The Wiz head to Atlanta on Saturday against another Southeast Division opponent before coming back home for the Verizon Center opener next Tuesday against Philadelphia, and Washington stands for a significantly more even match with the 76ers to try to improve to 1-1. Just remember: the Verizon Center wasn’t built in a day. Or a season.