The Orlando Magic have been heating up of late, downing the Washington Wizards 124-116 at the Verizon Center to improve to 4-1 on their current five-game road trip. The big change has come in the form of a new lineup engineered by head coach Frank Vogel, and it was on full display on Tuesday night in Washington.
Newly minted reserves Elfrid Payton and Jeff Green combined for 35 points in the first half as the Magic put the game out of reach early with a 40-point second quarter, the team's second-highest scoring quarter of the year. The four members of the Magic bench would outscore every Wizard not named John Wall 73-64.
Orlando was able to accomplish their mission on both sides of the ball, blocking a season-high 13 shots, while also scoring a season-high 124 points. This dominant performance by the Magic is equally indicative of the Wizards futility, as Orlando led in rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks while shooting 51 percent from the floor. The Magic also snapped a 9-game losing streak in Washington which dated back to 2012.
Despite Orlando leading by as much as 20, their cruise was interrupted midway through the fourth quarter as the Wizards came back to within striking distance. Led by John Wall, who would finish with a career-best 52 points, Washington was able to keep the game within ten before the Magic pulled away.
Though the Wizards as a whole lacked execution, John Wall showed why he is a three-time All-Star in the loss. The Wizards' point guard added eight assists, three steals, and four rebounds to his gaudy point total, and seemed unguardable for stretches – particularly late in the game.
Elfrid Payton had one of the best games of his young NBA career, despite not drawing the start from coach Vogel. He finished with a career-high 25 points to go along with nine assists, three steals, and three blocks.
Jeff Green, a former source of fans' ire, continued his strong play on Tuesday with 20 points, and a lone three-pointer that stifled the Wizards' fourth quarter comeback.
Jodie Meeks was able to add much-needed floor spacing, shooting 4-5 from beyond the arc and finishing with 18 points.
The Magic improved to 10-12 on the year with Tuesday's win and look to build on their hot streak when they take on the Boston Celtics at home on Wednesday night. Though the Magic should get a boost from the home crowd, taking on the 12-9 Celtics on a back-to-back is no easy task.