The Orlando Magic are at .500 for the first time in since 2013-14 season. Wizards backup point guard Ramon Sessions isn't surprised given Scott Skiles is now in charge there.
"Me playing for Skiles when he was in Milwaukee, I knew it was going to be a good hire for that team," Sessions aid of 2008-09, which was Skiles' first season there and Sessions' second. "He's one of those guys that's going to make you get out there. They're young, hungry, he's the right guy for that job."
The Magic (5-5), who have won two games in a row, lost to the Wizards in the season-opener for both teams 88-87 when Nik Vucevic missed the final shot at the buzzer. The Wizards have lost three in a row, all by double digits.
Under Skiles, this team is competitive. They lost by three points in double-overtime to the Oklahoma City Thunder (Wizards lost to them by 24 at home), by five to the Chicago Bulls on the road and by five in overtime to the Houston Rockets on the road.
They're in a better place than the Wizards (3-4) who have yet to find their footing defensively.
"I can remember playing with him in the first couple practices in training camp, it was about an hour before we even touched the ball," Sessions said of Skiles. "He's all defensive-minded. You're going to stick to the principles. If not, you're not going to be out there playing. Old school. Anytime you don't touch a ball an hour, I don't think there's any more old school than that."
In that regard, Skiles is similar to Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who until this season was about defense first. They've started using a more pace-and-space offense and the slippage defensively has been alarming. The Wizards allow 110.4 points a game, and they worked on defense all week to prepare for the Magic who likely won't have Victor Oladipo because of a concussion.
"We got a new system obviously. It's just one of those things. We got to defend and stop turning the ball over," said Sessions, who is averaging 9.1 points as John Wall's backup. "We know we can score the ball. We got to lock down defensively as a team and do it for 48 minutes. We have spurts in the game where we may not defend the way we need to. Last year we were known for defense."
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