WASHINGTON—The last time the Washington Wizards lost to the Orlando Magic was March 29, 2013 inside the Amway Center. Ever since the departure of the Magic's old franchise face Dwight Howard, the Wizards of the John Wall era have owned the Magic both in Orlando and in Washington.
Tobias Harris said "They know us. We know what they like to do," at shootaround before the game. Scott Skiles, even though he had only coached the Magic twice against the Wizards, offered up an even better interpretation of the Wizards dominant play vs. Orlando, "We've had decent control over a couple of those games. And, then all of a sudden, it becomes a John Wall layup drill."
Coming into Friday's game, Wall has been dealing with a series of leg injuries from his ankle to his knee, and now a foot sprain similar to the one from his rookie season, which may have taken a toll on him in the beginning minutes of the first half, where he only had 2 points and 1 assist before motioning to Wittman to pull him out and allowing Ramon Sessions and Otto Porter to run the show in his absence.
Wall started to get things clicking in the second and third quarters, before Wall took over in the fourth quarter, taking over the scoring load and setting up several plays for Kris Humphries. Wall and Humphries scored 23 of the Wizards' 31 points in the fourth, as Washington pulled away in a game that was tied to start the final frame and opened the New Year with a standing ovation from the home crowd.
"When you compete and force teams to have turnovers, it gets us the opportunity to get open looks, get to the free throw line and get fast breaks. That's the way we want to play." said Wall when asked about six Wizards who scored in double figures against the Magic. It could have easily been eight Wizards players, had Kelly Oubre not missed two alley-oop passes from Wall and if Dudley connected on 2-5 from three instead of 1-5.
John Wall answered questions from the media in a vintage Washington Wizards Mitchell & Ness snapback with the 2001 All-Star emblem on the side and a custom gold and black brim. Fittingly, on New Years Eve in 2001, Michael Jordan scored 45 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had 7 assists in a Wizards win over the New Jersey Nets.
A hobbled John Wall could never put up those type of numbers, but he still put up impressive numbers in the win, racking up 24 points, 13 assists, 4 boards, 2 steals and 1 block. He said after the game he didn't know why the Wizards have been able to win 11 straight.
Victor Oladipo believes it may have been a different story one of intimidation, maybe. "It's frustrating, but that's the way basketball is. There's always that one team that seems to have your number."