The Washington Wizards won their third straight game tonight, routing the Orlando Magic 120-91 in front of over 14,000 happy fans. The 29-point win is the largest in the history of the Wizards-Magic series. Washington led by as much as 31 late in the fourth quarter.
Washington shot 56 percent from the field, 63.6 percent on 3-pointers and 84 percent from the free throw line. Six different players, three staters and three reserves, scored in double figures, led by center Emeka Okafor and his 19 points and 11 rebounds -- both tops on the team tonight.
Washington got out and running early and often tonight and Okafor led the scoring and rebounding early. AJ Price scored 18 points on 5-9 shooting and dished 6 of Washington's 32 assists on the night. Fellow starting guard Bradley Beal poured in 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting. Off the bench, Kevin Seraphin scored 18 points to go with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. Jan Vesely played a high-energy game featuring his usual battery of flying fast break dunks. The young Czech scored ten points on 5-7 shooting, grabbed 7 boards and assisted on 4 buckets.
Finally, John Wall, in only his second game of the season, scored 12 points and handed out 6 assists and led the team's fast break offense for 20 minutes on the court. Wall did miss a dunk so it's obvious he doesn't have all his lift yet, but he looked fast and destroyed Orlando's Jameer Nelson on a crossover dribble that led to a no-look pass for a dunk. The Wiz have won both games Wall has played this season and he has scored 12 points in each of those games, playing limited minutes off the bench while he works his way back to full healthy from the September knee surgery.
Trevor Ariza added 8 points, 5 boards, 2 dimes and 2 blocks off the bench and third string point guard Garrett Temple contribued with 7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists in 18 minutes.
This game was about energy and early offense, with the Wizards padding their shooting stats by getting plenty of barely-defended dunks and layups on the fast break. The Wizards were +25 in transition and fast break points tonight. The Wiz also played some defense, allowing the Magic to shoot only 42.5% from the field and under 30% on threes.
The Magic trailed by 6 after the first quarter and looked like they might get run out of the building when the Wizards built the lead to 19 points late in the first half. However, the Magic went on a 13-0 run to end the half -- thanks to Wiz turnovers and lapsed defense -- to cut the lead back down to 6, 59-53, at halftime.
However, Washington responded to the run in the third quarter by taking control of the game again, pouring in 37 points and pushing the lead back up to 19 when the fourth quarter began. The Magic managed only 24 points in the third quarter and a measly 14 points in the fourth, while the Wizards kept shooting and scoring and building the lead to over 20 points.
Washington's halfcourt offense, which has been miserable most of the year, was not a factor tonight because the early offense worked so well. While John Wall often led the break himself, the team played 28 minutes without him on the floor and kept running all the time. Wall's presence on the bench -- his active presence in uniform -- seems to have given the Wizards a much-needed shot of adrenaline and a boost of confidence.
Washington's third win in a row improves the team's record to 7-28, 6-13 at home.no comments