Despite a late scare, the Wizards avoided their second-straight blown lead in the second half as they pulled out a 131-116 win over the Magic to snap a four-game losing streak. They also snapped a six-game losing streak against the Magic.
The Wizards pulled ahead late in the second quarter and built a 21-point lead with about 15 minutes of game time left. Despite a late push from the Magic, who cut the lead to four early in the fourth quarter, the Wizards had enough offense to pull out the win — especially with the return of Bradley Beal.
Here are four takeaways from Wednesday’s game in Orlando:
The Wizards got Beal back into the lineup for the first time since March 27 against the Pistons. He was suffering from a hip injury and missed five games as a result. In his absence, the Wizards went 1-4 and failed to reach the 100-point mark twice.
In Beal's return to the lineup, he played 30:22 and scored 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting. He might not have been 100 percent healthy, but it was close enough for another strong offensive performance. His 26 points led all scorers.
The Wizards certainly needed the NBA's leading scorer over the last few games and Wednesday he proved his worth time and time again.
A Needed Standings Win:
The Wizards are still aiming for the playoffs, and the win over the Magic certainly won’t impress anyone around the league, but it was essentially a must-win in the grand scheme of the season.
With a loss, the Wizards (18-32) would have dropped to 14th overall in the Eastern Conference standings with just 22 games to play and 4.5 games behind the 10th-seeded Bulls.
Now, they’ve gotten a win over a team in a similar spot in the standings and kept themselves afloat in the playoff chase. For now, that's what they needed to do.
Bertans, Wizards Strong From Three:
Davis Bertans kept up his strong shooting from beyond the arc since his return from injury, as he scored 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting from 3-point land against the Magic.
Since his return from a calf injury, he’s gone 14-of-27 from deep and has averaged 16.7 points per game. The Wizards’ 3-point assassin was not only notable on the scoresheet in total, he was efficient too.
As a team, the Wizards shot 19-of-35 from deep (54.3%) as the offense was clearly benefited by the return of Beal to the lineup with extra spacing all over the floor.
Not only was Wednesday’s game big for the playoff picture, but they’re now headed on a four-game road trip to the West Coast that could define what the rest of their season looks like.
They’ll play the Warriors, Suns, Jazz and Kings in six nights — starting on Friday — and a poor showing out west could put a big dent into the playoff hopes they have.
Against two of the league’s best teams in the Suns and Jazz, the Wizards will certainly have their work cut out for them.