The Washington Wizards beat the Orlando Magic 115-98 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...
Streak continues: The Wizards are all of a sudden unstoppable and they are doing it without their best player. On Saturday, they again earned a thoroughly impressive win without John Wall and again with unusually generous and crisp ball movement.
This time they dished 35 team assists. It was the fourth straight game the Wizards have had 27 assists or more, their longest such streak since April of 1997. This is the best passing streak the Wizards have had since Rod Strickland, Chris Webber and Juwan Howard were tearing it up for the Bullets.
Again, everyone got involved. Otto Porter led the Wizards with 20 points, five assists, four rebounds and a steal. Tomas Satoransky set a career-high with 19 points.
All five Wizards starters reached double figures. Bradley Beal had 18 points, Markieff Morris had 16 points with three assists and three steals. Marcin Gortat had a double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
The Wizards tied a season-high winning streak with their fourth straight victory. They moved to 30-22 on the season and within a game of the third-place Cleveland Cavaliers. Everything is looking up for the Wizards right now.
The Wizards, by the way, have won all four of these games without Wall. They are 9-6 without him this season. That's a small sample size, but it is a 49-win pace. Their record with him this year is 21-16, a 47-win pace.
Satoransky's career night: Satoransky keeps taking his game to new heights. The second-year guard had the best night of his brief career and showed an ability to affect a game with his scoring like we hadn't yet seen.
Satoransky was a force on the fastbreak with strong finishes and deft passes to his teammates. He attacked the rim in the halfcourt and stretched the floor with a consistent three-point shot. In addition to setting a career-high in points, Satoransky tied a career-best with three threes. He was a perfect 3-for-3 from long range. He also added six assists and two steals.
Once again, Satoransky's impact was felt on defense. He helped keep Magic point guard Elfrid Payton in check, as Payton was limited to 14 points after Payton scored 30 and 27 against the Wizards in their previous meetings.
Satoransky is starting to shed the label of 'capable backup.' He is now becoming a real strength for the Wizards. Soon it may be worth a debate about where he ranks among best backup point guards in the NBA.
Beal does so much: With Wall out, Beal is not only stepping up as a scorer, he has been leading the Wizards to win in a variety of ways. Saturday night was yet another well-rounded performance where Beal looked like in complete control from the opening tip.
Beal had 18 points and flirted with a triple-double with eight points and eight assists. He also had two steals and a block.
Beal is being treated much differently by defenses with Wall not on the floor. He is often seeing double teams and is clearly the primary focus of opponents. But Beal is using that to his advantage. Instead of panicking, Beal baits the defense into collapsing on him before setting up others with passes.
Beal's patience and improvement as a passer is allowing the Wizards to run their offense through him in different ways without Wall out. Beal deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' increased ball movement.
Up next: The Wizards are off Sunday before beginning a back-to-back set on Monday. They play at the Indiana Pacers with a 7 p.m. tipoff on NBC Sports Washington.
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