As the Wizards sat at the halfway point of both the season and a five-game homestand on Friday night, they were looking for redemption from a disappointing result on Wednesday against a struggling Utah team. While there were still plenty of things to clean up at night’s end, Washington ultimately got what it needed offensively against another struggling squad in the Orlando Magic.
John Wall and Bradley Beal scored 30 points apiece to lead the Wizards past Orlando in a shootout, 125-119. Both members of the D.C. backcourt put together complete outings, with Wall adding nine assists and three blocks and Beal handing out seven assists.
Washington took a two-point lead into the half thanks to 55.8 percent shooting on a whopping 52 attempts at the break. Perhaps most unusual about the high-scoring half was the fact that the Wizards failed to hit a 3-pointer (0-for-6) and Orlando was shooting an even hotter 63.2 percent after 24 minutes. John Wall’s 11 points put him over the 10,000-point mark for his career, while the Magic’s Bismack Biyombo recorded a career-high 18 points in the first half alone (he finished with 21).
The Wizards led for nearly the entire second half, but couldn’t find a way to put Orlando away with a decisive run. The game was tied twice early in the fourth quarter, and Washington never gained a double-digit lead, though it got close on a pivotal 6-0 spurt with under five minutes remaining in the game in which Wall scored a pair and assisted on an alley-oop to Marcin Gortat (12 points, 11 rebounds) to build an important eight-point cushion with 2:42 remaining. That helped the Wizards gain necessary momentum from the home crowd after they’d fended off the Magic for most of the night.
Next up for Washington is the second half of a home back-to-back as it looks to beat the Brooklyn Nets for the first time this season on Saturday night in D.C. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Capital One Arena.
A few final notes from Friday’s Wizards win…
Washington took 95 field goal attempts Friday night, just four shy of a season high. Interestingly enough, the Wizards also gained just their second win (2-4) when playing at that kind of offensive pace. The key was doing it efficiently, as they shot just 16 3’s and found high-percentage looks en route to dominating in the paint on the night, 74-52.
Mahinmi leads the bench
Ian Mahinmi had his best game in a Wizards uniform Friday night, shooting 7-of-8 from the field en route to a season-high 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. He was a difference maker on both ends of the floor and provided the little bit of defense Washington needed to secure a win. Kelly Oubre Jr. chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds to help the Wizards outscore the Magic’s second unit, 37-24.
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