On the last home game before their five-game west coast road trip, the Washington Wizards pulled out a nail bitter with a 115-114 win over the Orlando Magic.
Coming off a tough home loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Wizards started off a little slow. The Magic started the game on a 13-6 run. Despite the lackadaisical start, Washington went on a 11-4 run to tie the game at 17. Orlando came right back and led 28-25 after the first period. They carried that energy into the second quarter.
They started off the second quarter like the first, on a 14-4 run to take a 13-point lead. Washington made multiple efforts to cut the lead down to single digits, but Orlando ended the half on 17-9 run. The Magic went into halftime with a 16-point lead.
Washington knew that wasn’t their best first half and came out like they wanted to be there. Although they outscored the Magic 34-29, they still went into the fourth quarter down by double digits. If they wanted to win this game, Washington knew they had a lot of ground to make up. The Wizards wasted no time and went straight to work on a 15-6 run. This run cut the lead down to two points with 7:35 left to play.
Bojan Saves the Day
Bojan Bogdanovic was the hero in this game down the stretch. With the Wizards down 111-109, Bogdanovic hit a huge three-pointer with 1:06 left in the game. This shot put the Wizards up one-point. Evan Fournier came right back with a lay-up plus a free throw. This acrobatic play gave the Magic a two-point lead with 57 seconds left. On the other end, great ball movement by Washington led to a corner three by Bogdanovic. This gave the Wizards a one-point lead with 46 seconds left.
On the next play, the Magic put the ball in Aaron Gordon’s hands. Gordon had a mismatch with John Wall on him in the post. Gordon turns around and shoots, but has his shot blocked by Wall. Wall gets the rebound and takes the ball down court. With a little time difference between the game and shot clock, Wall had to throw up a shot. He misses it and Gordon grabs the rebound. Gordon races down the court and throws up a shot right before the buzzer. Due to a great contest by Wall and others, Gordon misses and the Wizards barely walk away with the win.
Bogdanovic Feels At Home
Bogdanovic ended the game with 27 points, including the Wizards last six points. He also had a career high eight three-pointers. Bradley Beal had a game-high with 32 points. Wall finished the game with 19 points and 10 assists. Jennings had a better game in his second outing and dished out seven assists in 17 minutes.
All five of the Magic starters scored in double figures. Terrance Ross led them with 20 points. Nikola Vucevic did not play due to a sore right Achilles Tendon. His replacement Bismack Biyombo had 14 points and 15 boards. Although Gordon could not close the game, he did have 15 points and 11 rebounds.
On to the West Side
Washington got a tough win before they head out to the west for the next five games. This will hold on to their third spot in the Eastern Conference for now. Their game is against the Phoenix Suns. The Suns record may not show it, but they are on a three-game winning streak, which is their longest of the season. The Suns are really young and have a lot of talent on their team. With a big win over the Boston Celtics, they have a lot of momentum going into this game.
Washington will have to watch out for multiple players. The two mots important is the Suns back court of Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe. In their first matchup of the season, Beal went for 42 as they won 106-101. The Suns have went with their young core since then, so they are a different and faster team. The key piece in this one will be the emergence of rookie Alan Williams off the bench. He has been playing out of his mind lately.
This will be a fast paced game and Washington can not let them get confident in this one. Washington has to play them from the start of the game to the finish. The Wizards can not drag up and down the court or complain about referees calls. They have to run and gun with this team if they expect to win.