Magic Musings: Stunning loss puts to bed winning streak hopes
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic appeared to be well on their way Wednesday night to stringing three wins in a row for the first time since early February.
But leading the Washington Wizards by five points with 1:38 to go following a dunk by Tobias Harris, the Magic were shut out the rest of the way. Rasual Butler split two free throws with 16 seconds to go to tie the score, and Bradley Beal's lay-in over Victor Oladipo at the buzzer gave the Wizards a stunning 91-89 victory.
While Oladipo led the Magic with 17 points, he missed two shots down the stretch, including a 22-footer over Beal on their last possession. Beal, the guard from Florida who missed the first two meetings of the season between the Magic and Wizards because of a fractured left wrist, scored the game-winning basket off a lob from Andre Miller coming out of a timeout.
The Magic led virtually the entire second half in their first home game following a 3-3 road trip. It was also their fifth consecutive contest without center Nikola Vucevic (back). Kyle O'Quinn played a season-high 30 minutes and had 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots before coach Jacque Vaughn sat him for the final 6:40.
Rookie guard Elfrid Payton scored in double figures for only the third time in more than a month and had his best overall game since the Magic's comeback from a 23-point deficit at Charlotte. Payton scored 12 points on 6-of-15 shooting and added six rebounds and four assists.
THE TURNING POINT
After calling a timeout with 0.8 of a second to go to get the ball at midcourt, Miller's inbound lob to Beal was right on target.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
John Wall finished with 21 points and 11 assists to lead the Wizards. Six of his points came in the last two minutes.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Magic shot only two free throws in the first half, with those coming from backup center Dewayne Dedmon early in the second quarter, and a season-low nine for the game.
Friday night at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.