Wizards beat short-handed Magic
WASHINGTON — There is no explaining the wild Washington Wizards these days. The Orlando Magic’s gloomy situation is simply a case of one bad break after another.
Mike Scott paced a balanced scoring attack with 18 points and the unpredictable Washington Wizards returned to their winning ways with a 130-103 rout of the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.
Returning home after Friday’s stunning 119-84 road debacle against the Brooklyn Nets, the Wizards (18-15) led 72-48 at halftime and pushed the margin to 29 in the second half en route to scoring their most points in any game this season.
“Welcome to the world of coaching,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “You just have to be consistent at what you do. Last night’s game was a horrible game — there was nothing positive about it. There’s always a game around the corner and I thought we did a good job of taking advantage of it.”
Bradley Beal and Otto Porter each scored 17 points while Markieff Morris had 16. John Wall finished with 10 points and 13 assists in the Wizards’ final game before their Christmas Day matchup with the Boston Celtics. Washington has won four of six games.
Orlando (11-23) entered the game without several key contributors and then lost center Nikola Vucevic to a fractured left index finger midway through the first quarter. The team announced he will be sidelined indefinitely.
“I’ve never been a part of a team with this many injuries,” Vucevic said. “It’s very unfortunate. Happened to be me tonight. It sucks. We can’t catch a break from injuries at all.”
Elfrid Payton scored a career-high 30 points and added 10 assists for the short-handed Magic, who have lost eight in a row. Leading scorers Evan Fournier (sprained right ankle) and Aaron Gordon (strained right calf) did not play.
“You feel bad for (Vucevic). I don’t feel bad for our team and for what we’re trying to get accomplished,” said Magic coach Frank Vogel, who acknowledged some human nature kicked in with the team after Vucevic’s injury. “We can’t hang our heads and look at all the guys we have out.”
The loss in Brooklyn was Washington’s latest against a team with a losing record. Orlando offered a comparable situation, but the Wizards led 37-29 after the first quarter and outscored the Magic 35-19 in the second quarter. Washington is 9-9 against teams under .500.
“Our focus and energy,” Beal said in the massive difference between the two games. “We came out more locked in from the start. Thankfully we were able to put that game from last night behind us and move on. I think we did a good job of defending for 48 minutes.”
Kelly Oubre Jr. also had 16 points and Jodie Meeks 10 for the Wizards, who were 16 of 30 from beyond the 3-point arc and 20 of 23 from the foul line. Washington shot 61.9 percent from the field in the first half and finished at 54.7.
“The Wizards (were) red hot,” Vogel said. “It’s been a theme partly with us, helping them get hot. They lost by 36 points last night. They came in motivated and played extremely well. You tip your cap to them.”
Scott, a free-agent addition this offseason, hit 7 of 8 shots. The combo forward is averaging 14.9 points and shooting 71.6 percent (63 of 88) since Dec. 5.
Vucevic averages 17.8 points and 9.6 rebounds. Without its top big man, Orlando was outrebounded 49-28 and outmatched throughout.
“It’s tough, especially with somebody like (Vucevic), the abilities he brings to the court,” Payton said. “It’s hard to match that. It was definitely a tough blow.”
Mario Hezonja scored 16 points, Jonathon Simmons added 14 and Wes Iwundu had 12 for the Magic. Orlando pulled within 100-85 on two Payton free throws with 11:40 remaining, but would get no closer.
Wall played limited minutes against the Nets in the first game of a back-to-back, but had his minutes restriction lifted against the Magic. The four-time All-Star played his fifth game since missing nine due to knee inflammation. The 13 assists represent his most in any game since dishing 14 against Dallas on Nov. 7.
NOTES: Washington has won 11 of its last 12 home games against Orlando. ... F Jonathan Isaac (sore right ankle), the Magic’s first-round pick, and F Terrence Ross (sprained right MCL) also sat out for Orlando. ... Orlando is off until Tuesday when it travels in state to face the Miami Heat. The Magic won their season opener over the Heat 116-109 on Oct. 18. ... Washington is 4-1 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season, but 1-4 in the first game.