WASHINGTON — Scott Brooks feels Frank Vogel’s pain.
Vogel’s Orlando Magic were reeling entering their road game Saturday night against Brooks’ Washington Wizards. Slowed by injuries to Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and Terrence Ross, the Magic had lost the last seven consecutive games and 18 of their last 21 games.
Brooks was asked prior to tipoff whether he can empathize with Vogel’s situation.
“Yeah, I have a lot of respect for Frank,” Brooks answered. “He’s an excellent coach that works hard and he’s about the right things. Nobody in this league — nobody in this league — can win with all their best players hurt, no matter who you have as a coach. And it’s not easy.
“But you’ve got to deal with it. Nobody feels sorry for you. But you’ve got to manage that and keep the expectations of playing hard and playing together as your main focus.”
Fournier, Gordon, Isaac and Ross didn’t play Saturday.
The Magic won’t play on Christmas Eve or Christmas and team officials hope Fournier, Gordon and Isaac will be able to play on Tuesday in Miami.
“There’s a chance they’re all back [against Miami],” Vogel said. “There’s a chance none of them will be back.”
Isaac reinjured his right ankle on Wednesday in his second game back from a right ankle sprain that forced him to miss 17 consecutive games.
“I would say it’s just completely different,” Isaac said before tipoff. “Just a little re-aggravation. I’m feeling OK. It’s the same thing: day-to-day. Hopefully, I’ll get back soon.”
Fournier has missed eight straight games with a sprained right ankle, but he did a rigorous pregame on-court workout that included running and shooting. Gordon, who is dealing with a calf strain and a bone bruise, pedaled a stationary bike.
Rookie swingman Jamel Artis, one of the Magic’s two-way players, grew up in nearby Baltimore.
Artis procured eight tickets to Saturday’s game for family and friends.
His guests included dad Kevin Artis, his cousin and his AAU coach.
“It’s a special moment,” Artis said before tipoff. “I’m 45 minutes away from home. I’ve got family and friends that always thought I could be in the NBA, and now I’m here. I dreamed about this probably a million times.”
If the Magic’s loss Friday night to the New Orleans Pelicans had a positive — admittedly, a big “if” — it would have involved Marreese Speights.
Speights entered Friday mired in a horrific shooting slump, having made only four of his 33 shots (12.1 percent) since Dec. 3 and just two of his 18 attempts (11.1 percent) from 3-point range.
In Friday’s loss, Speights went 2 of 6 from beyond the arc. He hoped to shoot better, but at least it represented progress, albeit modest progress.
Speights has encountered difficulty generating a rhythm because he plays sparingly. He had appeared in just five of the Magic’s previous 11 games heading into Friday.
“In my situation, it’s a little harder because of the role I am [in],” Speights said. “But … it’s a long season. Whenever you go through a little slump, it’s all about getting reps up. Sometimes it’s about mentally being into the game, mentally focusing on your shots. So for me, I’m glad I hit two [against New Orleans]. I haven’t hit two 3s in a long time, so it feels good.”
The game brought a negative for Speights, in addition to the loss.
Referees called a technical on Speights when Speights drove to the hoop against Anthony Davis, attempted a shot and elbowed Davis in the mouth as Speights descended.
“I ain’t never got a tech like that,” Speights said after the game. “I didn’t even know I hit him. I was just playing basketball, and they said I got a tech. It was kind of crazy. But it’s how it is, man. You can’t really complain about it. I didn’t try to do it at all because I didn’t know I did it.”
The infraction was Speights’ second technical of the season, for a total of $4,000 in fines.
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