The matchup with the Orlando Magic is a surprising trouble spot for the Wizards, especially after they’d beaten them 12 consecutive times coming into this season.
Sunday, they almost lost for the third time in four meetings but pulled out a 115-114 victory on 7-for-10 shooting from three-point range in the final 12 minutes to end the season series 2-2.
John Wall (19 points, 10 assists) had a career-high 52 points in the last meeting in a loss, which marked a turnaround for the Wizards who’d go on an 18-3 run into the All-Star break. Bradley Beal (32 points) broke out this time followed by Bojan Bogdanovic (27 points) off the bench. It was Wall's 40th double-double, Bodganovic tied his season high and Beal scored 30 or more for the 11th time. That's seven times more than in his previous four seasons combined.
Bogdanovic buried his sixth three-pointer with 1:06 left off an inbounds play to put the Wizards ahead 112-111.
Orlando (23-40) had a comprehensive effort from Aaron Gordon (15 points, 11 rebounds), Bismack Biyombo (14 points, 15 rebounds), Terrence Ross (20 points), Evan Fournier (18 points), Jeff Green and Mario Hezonja (12 points) and Elfrid Payton (15 points).
The size, defensive abilities and athleticism for Orlando poses matchup problems for Washington as it erased a 17-point deficit, took the lead in the fourth and traded big shots down the stretch.
Gordon can defend Otto Porter (11 points) or Markieff Morris (eight). Biyombo can defend Morris or Marcin Gortat (seven points, 11 rebounds).
Baskets weren’t easy to come by and a team that has had trouble finding offense in Orlando had plenty. They shot 44-for-89 (49.4%).
Fournier converted a three-point play for a 114-112 lead for Orlando until Bogdanovic knocked down yet another three -- on an assist from Wall again -- with 46.8 seconds left.
The Wizards avoided losing consecutive games at home for the first time this season where they’re now 26-9.
--No one player dominated for Orlando, which had seven players in double figures after three quarters as Payton had the most with 14. Their length and athleticism gave them a 22-6 edge in second-chance points entering the fourth. That’s how their role players who aren’t noted for shooting accuracy got their points.
--With 4:24: left in the first quarter, Beal made a stepback three-pointer on Ross, who appeared to take an extra (and unnecessary) step under him long after the ball was released. Beal landed on his foot and rolled his left ankle which caused him to miss one game already this season. Beal left the court but was able to return in the second quarter but his momentum was lost. He was 4 of 5 shooting for nine points until his injury and regained his groove in the second half where he scored 21 points.
--The first points for Brandon Jennings (two points) came in transition. He was drove the lane after the Magic committed a turnover for a layup that cut the deficit to 96-91. Coach Scott Brooks stuck with a three-guard lineup of Jennings, Wall and Beal during the comeback. Mahinmi took advantage of being defended by the undersized Gordon on the low block for a jump hook. Jennings generated seven assists in 17 minutes.
--Tomas Satoransky (five points) did all of his scoring in the final quarter. Beal found him on a pick-and-roll with Mahinmi wide open and unlike earlier in the season he just took the shot and made a three-pointer. Next time down the floor, Hezonja closed out Satoransky on the three-point line and he beat him baseline for the floater.
--Gortat played 8:09 in the third quarter but didn’t touch the floor again because of the smaller lineups.
--Bogdanovic made eight of 10 threes. He has made at least six in two of his last three games for Washington. He's 20-for-34 since joining the Wizards at the trade deadline. That's 59% accuracy.