Defense was hard to find throughout the game, especially in the first half. The Wizards and Magic combined for 128 points, but not in the way you might expect. Washington didn’t make any threes in the half and Orlando only made four because both were getting to the rim with such ease they didn’t need to bother with moving the ball around to get open shots. Together, they combined for 76 points in the paint in the first half, with plenty of them coming from Bismack Biyombo, who finished with a career-best 21 points on the night.
Washington ramped up the defensive intensity a little bit to start the second half. It took the Magic over four minutes before they got their first field goal of the second half. Still, the Wizards weren’t able to use the cold snap to create meaningful margin as the teams continued to go back and forth, trading baskets.
Finally, John Wall took matters into his own hands on both ends in the closing minutes. He hit jumpers on back-to-back possessions, threw a perfect lob pass to set up Marcin Gortat for a dunk, stuffed Aaron Gordon on the low block...
and then he made another block on a fast break to shut the door for good as the Wizards snapped their two-game losing streak.
John Wall comes through when it matters
It looked like John Wall might not even play in the second half after he hurt his ankle contesting the final shot of the first half. Instead, he completely took over the game. He scored 19 points on 12 shots after a quiet first half and while his defense wasn’t great all night, he came through with the plays when it mattered late in the game.
Oh, and don’t worry, he’s still as fast as ever:
Ian Mahinmi gets everything he wants
Mahinmi was one of the biggest benefactors from the clear path to the paint in this game. Look at the runway he got on this pick-and-roll.
Things won’t always be that easy for Mahinmi, but to be fair, he did more than just provide some scoring fluff. He provided some of the only defensive resistance during the game, and most importantly, stayed out of foul trouble, which kept the Magic from picking up easy points that could have made this game tighter.
- Scott Brooks went with a nine-man rotation. The odd man out? Jodie Meeks, who picked up his first DNP of the season.
- John Wall reached the 10,000 point mark in the first quarter. They say the first 10,000 is the hardest.
Next up: The Wizards play again on Saturday night as they host the Nets at 7 p.m. ET.