WALL HITS MILESTONE IN WIN OVER MAGIC, WIZARDS CLOSE OUT MAGIC
Washington didn’t close things out the way they wanted Wednesday when they hosted Utah, they didn’t have that issue as they beat Orlando 125-119. John Wall and Bradley Beal scored 30 points a piece on 25-of-38 shooting to ensure the ending they desired, just the second time they’ve done so in the same game. Wall continued where he left off against Utah, scoring 19 of his 30 points in the second half, including nine in the fourth quarter. The Wizards got a big game out of Ian Mahinmi, coming off the bench to score 17 points, grab eight rebounds, and blocked three shots. Wall like Ian, also blocked three shots on a night in which he made franchise history.
Wall became the youngest player in franchise history to score 10,000 career points and the fourth to eclipse the mark.
Orlando was led by Elfrid Payton and Jonathon Simmons, scoring 27 and 23 points respectively. Every member of the Magic starting five scored in double figures, displaying good balance and ball movement.
Neither team had committed to playing defense for the first three quarters, with the game tied it was going to come down to whichever team could get stops. Both teams had scored at least 30 points in every period, Washington made it clear early in the fourth quarter that they were engaged on that end of the floor. The Wizards held the Magic to just 27.3% from the floor.
With 5:49 left in the game, Orlando took a lead when Gordon found Biyombo for an uncontested dunk. For the next three minutes, Wall scored or assisted on Washington’s next 13 points. He started with a pull up jumper from 18 feet out, then he found Kelly Oubre for a triple. John continued to work the mid-range game, knocking down two more jumpers including a filthy step back over Fournier. After blocking Gordon’s shot on the low block, Wall found Gorat on a lob. He looked off the defense like a quarterback, looking at Brad behind the three point line before hitting the wide open Gortat. Oubre had another lapse in judgement with 20 seconds left, launching an ill advised three pointer with 20 seconds left. Orlando’s Jonathon Simmons took advantage of the blunder and knocked down a three. The foul game was played and Washington got back into the winning column.
From early on it was clear there wasn’t going to be much defense played in this one, both teams shot over 65% in the first period. The ball was moving around the court well for both teams, each picking on the other’s defensive issues. For Washington, they just couldn’t get themselves to contain the screen/roll. Whether it was the ball handler or screen setter, both were given the option to score. Bismack Biyombo made the most of his open looks, scoring 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting. Wall was getting both himself and his teammates involved early, Orlando didn’t trap him or provide help on his forays to the rim so he did as he pleased. His sixth point of the quarter is when he eclipsed the 10,000 point mark in his career.
Orlando’s ball movement continued to find them easy looks and Washington fell behind, before he second unit entered the game. Tomas Satoransky and Kelly Oubre immediately made an impact, with the 6’7 point guard finding the 6’7 wing on back-to-back possessions for easy baskets. Ian Mahinmi was active on both ends of the floor upon entering the game and that played a role in Washington’s 7-2 run to close the period.
The Wizards extended their lead to five a few minutes into the second quarter on a Mike Scott floater. From there, things got hectic. Bradley Beal had six points in the first quarter, but turned all the way up in the second quarter, scoring 17 on a blistering 7-of-10 shooting. While that helped Washington, Orlando’s balance helped them keep pace. Johnathon Simmons found pockets to score, tallying eight and Afflalo hit a couple of shots as well. both teams cooled off a bit, but not much as defense was still seen as optional. Although, Wall pinned a Fournier layup attempt to the glass before the half ended. Another positive for Washington was they had just five turnovers in the firs half after committing 23 turnovers against Utah.
Nothing would change in the third stanza either, both teams continued to play offense only. Resulting in a feverish pace and lots of trips to the foul line for the Magic, Washington didn’t move their feet well and paid for it. Orlando took 12 trips to the line in the period, knocking down 8-of-12 attempts from the charity stripe. Washington only went to the line three times, one of the reason was the Magic’s porous defense gave them layups, resulting in 18 points in the paint for the Wizards. Orlando’s Aaron Gordon had just two points at halftime, but he got hot after the half. Known by most as a high flyer, he’s worked hard on the rest of his game and that was proven by the three triples he knocked down. His 12 points played a big role in Orlando outscoring Washington 35-33. Mo Speights didn’t have a big game, but his two three pointers came at a good time. The back-to-back triples tied the game, but Wall responded with a very tough drive and finish to break the deadlock.