The only thing that has gone right for the Wizards this season is their matchup with the Orlando Magic, which they've swept 4-0 after Saturday's 105-99 victory at Amway Center in which six players scored in double figures.
The Wizards (16-19) ended a three-game losing streak as John Wall led with game-highs of 24 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and four steals. Gary Neal, Otto Porter and Jared Dudley each scored 16 points, Marcin Gortat posted his 17th double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Garrett Temple had 11 points.
After Wall's pull-up jumper gave the Wizards a 10-9 lead early in the first quarter, they never trailed again and stretched to as many as 17.
Orlando (20-18) also had six players score in double figures, led by Nic Vucevic (23 points, nine rebounds) and Victor Oladipo (17 points).
The Wizards' franchise longest win streak vs. an opponent is 13, against the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1972-74, Detroit Pistons from 1968-70 and Utah Jazz from 1977-81. They've won 12 in a row vs. the Magic to match their streak vs. the San Diego Rockets from 1969-71.
- The formula for winning until Bradley Beal's return is simple: Wall has to have a strong game and the Wizards have to make open shots. Wall shot 10 of 17 (59%) and the Wizards made 13 of 23 three-pointers (56.5%), one short of tying a season-high for makes.
- Vucevic was hit with a flagrant 1 foul on Gortat on his clear drive to the basket as he struck him in the face. Temple immediately went over to confront him and had to be pushed away. The toughness and energy that he shows on a nightly basis has to be contagious (and it isn't). Coach Randy Wittman pointed this out as an example of the fight that the Wizards lacked on Friday when Porter was pummeled to the floor twice by the Toronto Raptors' Patrick Patterson and Luis Scola and they met no resistance. And for that matter, when Wall broke his hand and wrist in last season's playoffs on a hard foul from Jeff Teague, the Wizards simply let it go. It shouldn't be on Temple, with his slight 6-6 frame, to do the dirty work but this is yet another example of how he quietly leads with his effort and hustle. Plus, Temple's ball pressure had a lot to do with Oladipo's six turnovers. Porter had a breakaway in the first quarter created by Temple's pressure on Oladipo who made a bad pass.
- Neal was 1 of 9 in Friday's loss to the Toronto Raptors, but his number was called for players often early in the fourth quarter when he made three consecutive baskets to keep the lead at 14. When Neal is on, he's a great complement to the offense. When he's not, like Friday, they've got to find other answers. Rookie Kelly Oubre still was able to get on the court and even though didn't take a shot in 15 minutes his defense on Tobias Harris and Evan Fournier was as good as it gets.
- In his second game back, Drew Gooden played 15 minutes to score five points on 2 of 5 shooting and he played center which allowed Porter to play power forward where he can beat his man off the dribble. Both of Gooden's buckets, one a three-pointer, came consecutively midway through the second quarter when the Wizards began pulling away. Gooden's block of Oladipo on a drive sparked a fast break that resulted in a three-pointer for Porter and a 40-28 lead. Gooden's form looks good and when his legs are fully back it'll give coach Randy Wittman another option at the stretch four position besides Dudley or a chance to use him as a spread five which opens the floor even more.
- Gortat's command in the middle continues. Aside from his 17th double-double, he's battling on the boards and for loose balls and one of his two offensive rebounds led to a three-point basket. Vucevic faces up a lot and is shooting from outside more. While fighting Vucevic for position in the fourth, he was clipped with an elbow and had to be pulled from the game because of bleeding.
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