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Late rally not enough as Wizards lose to Magic, 117-108
A spirited fourth quarter wasn't enough, as the Wizards fell to the Orlando Magic 117-108 Friday night at the Amway Center. The loss marks the Wizards’ second-straight, and ninth on the season.
John Wall’s three assists helped the Wizards in the early going, as did Dwight Howard's eight points and six rebounds in the first quarter. However, an Orlando 16-5 run tied the game at 18 all late in the first quarter. Orlando entered the second quarter with a 32-25 lead. The Magic built on the lead in the second quarter, capitalizing on 14 first-half turnovers from the Wizards. Orlando tied its season-high with 63 first-half points.
While the Magic remained in control for the better part of the second half, the Wizards rallied back down the stretch. The Wizards were down as many as 25 points in the third quarter, but cut the deficit to 15. Head coach Scott Brooks went with a smaller lineup in the second half (Wall-Beal-Rivers-Oubre-Green), and the results were positive.
“We kind of went small so they spaced the floor and we was able to tag," John Wall said postgame. "We did a good job defending and was able to get out and run instead of taking the ball out of the net. We were attacking trying to get to the free throw line, trying to get to the basket.”A Kelly Oubre Jr. four-point play early in the fourth quarter brought the game to within 11 and helped tilt the momentum. A behind-the-back layup by John Wall made it a one-point game with 2:26 left in regulation. However, a D.J. Augustin 3-pointer gave the Magic enough breathing room to close out the game.
“We can’t get down by the points that we got down by in that first half. We had a good start – very good start. 11-2, playing solid," Scott Brooks said postgame. "They started scoring, started making threes. It’s tough to turn it off, but we (we needed to play) with the proper effort and the energy in that second half that we got to start the game. We’re doing it in bits and pieces, but this is a 48-minute league. You’ve got to do it throughout the game, and we haven’t figured that part out, but we have to do it.”
Both teams shot 51.2 % from the field, while the Magic out-rebounded the Wizards 48-43.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards in scoring with 27 points. Beal also contributed six assists and four rebounds. Oubre Jr. manufactured 19 points, while Wall ended the night with his second-consecutive double-double (19p, 12a). Beal and Wall also played the entire second half, and ended the night with over 84 combined minutes of play.
Nikola Vucevic paced Orlando with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Aaron Gordon added 20 points and 7 boards. Both Evan Fournier and rookie Mohamed Bamba ended the contest with 15 points.
The Wizards return to action tomorrow night in Miami to take on the Heat for the second time this season. The teams last met in the Wizards' season opener, with the Heat picking up the victory. That game is set for an 8:00 p.m. tipoff (NBCSW, 1500 AM).