The Washington Wizards’ 131–116 win versus the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night started with a Bradley Beal pull-up jumper that found all of the net; it was the electric guard’s first basket since a hip injury cost him five games. The Wizards’ all-star, who last played on March 27 against the Detroit Pistons, would score the next bucket — a nifty layup — and assist a Russell Westbrook three on the ensuing possession.
Orlando newbie Wendell Carter Jr., who was acquired from Chicago at the trade deadline, played his brand of bully-ball early in the affair, helping his team to a slight three-point lead halfway through the quarter. But it was Davis Bertans’ 10 points (three treys and a free throw) off the bench that helped Washington to a 34–33 lead after one.
Despite a flurry of moves at the trade deadline, a trio of holdovers — Cole Anthony (13 points), Michael Carter-Williams (13) and Terrence Ross (team-high 24) — led the charge for the home team. Anthony and Ross both functioned as spark plugs off the bench, while Carter-Williams assumed lead-guard responsibilities.
For everything Orlando threw at the visitors, Washington (18–32) rode the three-ball to push the lead to ten at the beginning of the second. With Beal (26 points) resting, the bench unit did their part, contributing 36 points on 81-percent shooting from the field. Back-and-forth scoring saw the two 17-win clubs finish the first 24 separated by a margin of 13. The Magic did well to stay somewhat competitive, as the Wizards went 11-for-15 from behind the arc in the first half.
The away side picked up where they left off — Deni Avdija (16 points on 4-for-7 shooting from three) knocked down a corner three off a dish from Westbrook. With deep shots raining at Amway Center, the Wizards pushed their lead to 16, at which point the Floridians called for a timeout. Only a few minutes later, though, it was Wizards Coach Scott Brooks who had seen enough after his team committed two consecutive turnovers and gifted Orlando (17–34) a free basket. Beal and his teammates responded, going on a 9–2 run following the stoppage. The Magic then outscored the Wizards by 11 in the final minutes of the third to claw within 10.
At the 11:33 mark of the fourth, Westbrook — who picked up his 10th assist of the contest — notched his 20th triple-double of the season, becoming the second player in NBA history to have four seasons of 20-plus triple-doubles. A four-minute Magic field goal drought sealed victory number 18 for the Wizards, capping a historic game for Westbrook, who finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 16 assists. Bertans finished with 22 points off the bench, and Robin Lopez logged a season-high 19.