Beal, Wall score 30 apiece; Wizards down Magic 125-119
WASHINGTON (AP) Just as the Washington Wizards fixed some recent scoring issues, their defense faltered.
At least they avoided losing to another sub-.500 team thanks to their All-Star caliber backcourt.
Bradley Beal and John Wall each scored 30 points and the Wizards snapped a two-game losing streak with a 125-119 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night.
Ian Mahinmi finished with a season-high 17 points in the defense-optional game. Washington shot 56.8 percent from the field and scored a season-high 74 points in the paint.
Tied at 98 after three quarters with Orlando hitting better than 60 percent of its field goal attempts entering the final period, Washington finished off the Magic with solid work on both ends of the court.
”I looked at the score. I said we really have (98) each after the third quarter,” Beal said. ”I said whoever plays defense first is going to win. That was a no-brainer.”
The Wizards struggled offensively in recent fourth quarters but made 11-of-20 attempts against Orlando. Wall hit three jump shots during an 11-2 run that gave Washington a 121-113 lead with 3:15 remaining.
The Magic shot 6 for 22 in the fourth quarter, finishing at 51 percent from the floor overall.
Orlando has lost seven in a row, 16 of 17 and 27 of its last 31. That stretch included a 130-103 rout by Washington on Dec. 23.
”I think our guys competed, very much so on the defensive end, and the results just weren’t there,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said. ”Credit to them, they’ve got two All-Star guards, their bigs are good finishers. They’ve got a lot of firepower.”
Elfrid Payton scored 27 points and Jonathon Simmons had 23 as all five Orlando starters reached double figures. Bismack Biyombo finished 8 of 9 from the field for a career-high 21 points.
Including Wednesday’s 107-104 loss to the undermanned Utah Jazz on Wednesday, Washington entered Friday with an underwhelming 11-10 record against teams with losing records.
Magic: Aaron Gordon had 14 points and Evan Fournier scored 10. … Orlando shot 70.6 percent from the field in the first quarter. … With Orlando in the nation’s capital ahead of Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Vogel took the team to the slain civil rights leader’s memorial. ”It’s good for our guys to keep a big picture and continue to be enlightened about the world. Obviously, sadly there is far too much racial injustice in our country.”
Wizards: Wall became the youngest player (27 years, 128 days) in franchise to reach 10,000 points for his career. . Beal made nine of his first 10 shot attempts and finished the first half 10 of 13 for 23 points as the Wizards entered halftime leading 65-63. . C Marcin Gortat had 12 points and 11 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.
Wall rolled his ankle on the final play of the first half after landing on Gortat’s foot while attempting to rebound. He left the court with a slight limp, but opened the second half and scored 10 points in the third quarter, including an emphatic driving dunk. ”That guy just tapes it up, goes out there and competes,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. ”It’s what makes him a special player. . He’s a competitor, and we needed every bit of his effort and energy, defensive toughness and offense and shot-making ability tonight.”
With the Atlanta Hawks losing at Brooklyn on Friday, Orlando avoided owning the NBA’s worst record. ”We’re 29th in the league,” Simmons said. ”That’s where we are. We need to do better.”
Magic: Host Minnesota on Tuesday.
Wizards: Continue their five-game homestand Saturday against Brooklyn.
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