Bradley Beal’s return to the court could not have gone any better for the Wizards.
The Wizards rode a four-game losing streak into Orlando on Wednesday night, but Brad’s return provided a spark and the scoring ability of every player up and down the roster was on full display as Washington (18-32) downed the Magic (17-34).
The Wizards just couldn’t miss against the Magic, hitting a season-high 19 three-pointers and shooting a white-hot 57.6 percent from the field. Brad led the way in his return with a stellar 26-point showing including 4-of-6 from three.
After the win, Washington head coach Scott Brooks mentioned how badly No. 3 wanted to return to the court the last few games to help his team.
“Brad had been questionable and a game-time decision for five games, and I like that because I’ve been around a lot of teams and players who would’ve said, ‘I’ll see you guys in two weeks,'” coach Brooks said. “But he wanted to play every night.”
No. 3 wasn’t the only one to light up the score sheet, with Russell Westbrook shooting 8-of-11 from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc to round out a 23-point, 14-rebound, 15-assist performance.
The Wiz also got strong performances off the bench from Robin Lopez and Davis Bertans. While Lopez was dominating the paint with 19 points of his own, the man known as the Latvian Laser caught fire from the perimeter, shooting 6-of-11 from downtown to contribute 22 points in just 20 minutes.
Washington’s hot shooting started early, as they hit 11 of their 19 threes in the first half with six different players contributing to the three-point barrage. Orlando was led by Wendell Carter’s scoring effort early after he scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting at the half, but that scoring impact wouldn’t last much longer as the Wizards would hold him to just two points for the rest of the game.
In the third quarter, the Wizards continued to find their shot from beyond the arc, pushing the lead up to 96-75 with 3:39 left in the period, after Brad and Bertans fired off nine quick points from three. The Magic promptly responded with a 15-4 run to close out the third, led by Cole Anthony’s five points and three assists and Terrence Ross’ seven straight points.
The Magic carried that momentum into the fourth quarter, as Mo Bamba scored 10 straight points to cap off a career-high 19-point night to trim the Wizards lead to 105-100 with 9:33 left in the game. A three from RJ Hampton cut the lead down to four with 8:04 left, but the Wizards closed the game out strong by outscoring the Magic 27-13 from that point on. The Wizards were led by Lopez and rookie Deni Avdija during the run, with the two combining for 16 points to knock the Magic down for good.
The Wizards will look to carry over their hot shooting into their next game against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors on Friday, April 9. The game will air on NBC Sports Washington at 10:00 p.m.
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