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Wizards 96, Magic 80: Washington pulls away in second half

Once Washington found the range from beyond the arc, it was lights-out for the visiting Magic.

Nenê, Nik Vučević, and Victor Oladipo
Nenê, Nik Vučević, and Victor Oladipo
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic dropped their second game in as many nights Monday, falling to the Washington Wizards in a 96-80 rout which was never competitive after halftime.

Washington's frontline of Marcin Gortat and Nenê had its way with Orlando, combining for 28 points and 17 rebounds on 11-of-16 shooting from the floor. All-Star point guard John Wall came close to recording a triple-double and likely would have were the game more competitive: he finished with nine points, 10 boards, and 10 assists.

Evan Fournier paced Orlando with 18 off the bench in another strong offensive performance; the Magic needed more offense from the Frenchman with Tobias Harris out, and he came through. Nikola Vucevic scored 14, and Elfrid Payton did a bit of everything, with 11 points, five boards, five assists, and a career-best six steals.

Orlando got off to yet another sluggish start Monday, falling behind 9-0 in the opening three-plus minutes of the game and trailing by as much as 11 in the first period overall. Nenê recorded three dunks in that opening 9-0 spurt. The Magic showed some flashes offensively in the first, notably on back cuts with Kyle O`Quinn initiating at the elbow, but otherwise looked out of sorts.

The Magic made their hay in the second period, tightening up their defense. With Washington suddenly unable to locate the bottom of the net, Orlando managed to get out and run, attacking the Wiz and keeping them on their heels. Payton made some big plays in this stretch, as one might expect from the lightning-quick rookie, and his putback layup at the 3:09 mark brought the Magic to within three. Less than a minute later, Oladipo cut the deficit to two points

But the Wizards would close the half on a 6-0 run, thus preserving the eight-point edge they held after 12 minutes.

In short order, the Wizards would assert themselves after intermission: they drained three straight three-pointers in the opening two-plus minutes, boosting their lead to 15 points. Orlando had to know that Washington would, after going oh-for from deep in the first half, eventually start hitting treys. And once it did, the Magic had no answer. Vucevic went 4-of-4 in the period for 10 points, but his teammates offered little help.

A three-point play by Drew Gooden, seeing extended minutes due to Kris Humphries' early departure, gave Washington a 20-point lead at the end of the quarter; Dewayne Dedmon fouled the journeyman big man on a long corner two-pointer.

The Magic's second unit made a run against Washington's in the fourth period, enough to prompt Wiz coach Randy Wittman to return to his starters for a spell. Still, Orlando never got closer than 10 points in the final frame.

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