December 15, 2019

Washington Wizards Game 31 Review: Strong fourth quarter allow Wiz to continue dominance of Magic

It is a new year for the Washington Wizards, who probably want to leave the heartbreak of 2015 in the past. Now they have to continue weathering the injury storm in order to stay in contention for the Eastern Conference playoffs. It is hard to believe Washington was able to pull off a .500 record (8-8) in December when they missed time from eight players of meaning. John Wall had a lot to do with that by being the first player since Chris Paul in April 2009 to average 22+ points, 11+ assists, 4+ rebounds, and 2+ steals per game during an entire month.

Wall recorded another double-double, 22 points and 12 assists, but got great support from Kris Humphries in the fourth quarter to down the Magic 103-91. Tonight marked the eleventh straight victory for the Wizards over the Magic as they continue to “own” Scott Skiles’ team.

“It’s good when everyone is making shots, but even when we had lapses where we weren’t making shots early on we kept defending and kept ourselves in the game,” Wall said. “That’s the things when you compete and force teams to have turnovers it gives us an opportunity to get open looks, get to the free-throw line and get fast breaks. That’s how we want to play. Get a lot of guys shots and be able to make them and guys made some good shots today.

Nikola Vucevic continues to solidify himself as a rising star in the NBA at the center position. Six straight points to start the game for Orlando as well as strong defense on the other end helped put Washington in an early 9-2 hole. In an odd substitution, Wall was given an early rest less than halfway through the quarter, but Ramon Sessions provided great energy that spurted a 10-0 run. With a 16-6 advantage in the paint to complement a 12-2 edge in fast break scoring, the Wizards held a 24-21 advantage after one quarter.

Sloppy play on both sides of the floor from Washington allowed Orlando to retake the lead on a 6-0 run before Randy Wittman called timeout. The Wizards were energized by a patented transition block by Wall, to the tune of a 12-4 run. Otto Porter‘s energy led to 12 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in the first half. The sides traded buckets to end the half, but Washington maintained a 48-43 lead at intermission.

Orlando made it easy for Washington early in the third,  as three turnovers in the first two minutes directly led to seven straight points. The Magic cut into the Wizards 12-point lead by scoring on five straight possessions to make it a four-point game. After missing his first seven shots of the game, Jared Dudley hit three straight jump shots to help Washington survive the Orlando blitz.

DeMatha product Victor Oladipo was a thorn in Washington with his defense, accounting for four steals, which directly led to a two-point game. An extended 15-3 run for the Magic made Washington’s lead disappear. A couple of 3-pointers from Ramon Sessions allowed for the Wizards to be tied at 72 headed to the fourth quarter.

(Photo by: Getty Images)

(Photo by: Getty Images)

Kris Humphries showed up in a big way for the Wizards again against the Magic — in the fourth quarter he scored 11 points on just four field goal attempts. Wittman rolled with the pick-and-pop big for much of the fourth quarter over Marcin Gortat; a decision made easy by Humphries solid defense against Jason Smith and Nikola Vucevic. Washington went on a 15-3 run for a game-high 12 point advantage with under four minutes to go. Wall salted the game away with a nasty crossover to break Evan Fournier’s ankles. Washington was victorious 103-91 to start 2016 on the right foot.

“It was the same kind of game the last time they were in town if you remember,” Wittman said. “Humphries played well. Listen, if I knew that a combination is gonna work, I’d be a hell of a coach. It’s just a hunch. You go with what you’re doing. Humphries has been our backup five with all the injuries for the most part and he got it going.”

After missing the previous 21 games and last playing on Nov. 17, veteran big Drew Gooden (calf) returned to the rotation, as the Wiz have been thin in the front court. However, Gooden re-tweaked his right calf and left the game before the fourth quarter. Wittman claimed Gooden was held out for precautionary reasons after he felt the recently injured area tighten up.

Another Florida foe will come to the Verizon Center on Sunday when the Wizards host the Miami Heat (18-13) at 6 p.m.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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  1. […] New Year’s Day the Washington Wizards beat the Orlando Magic for the eleventh straight time, an impressive feat on its own. After looking foolish in their past […]

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