7:00 PM ET, December 2, 2013
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Wall had 16 points and 13 assists to lead Washington to a 98-80 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.
Trevor Ariza scored 24 points, Nene had 14 and Marcin Gortat finished with 13 as Washington (9-9) got to .500 for the first time since it split its first four games of the 2009-10 season, when Wall was just a touted freshman at Kentucky.
"We are playing basketball the right way, trusting our teammates and trusting our defensive concepts," Wall said.
With top scorer Bradley Beal out of the lineup for the fifth straight game, Ariza supplied the offense. He was 8-for-9 from the field and made each of his four 3-point attempts, three off passes from Wall.
The Wizards have won seven of nine games and are 4-1 since Beal went out with a leg injury.
Reaching .500 is no small feat for a Washington team that opened 0-8 in 2011-12 and 0-12 last season.
"These guys lost a lot of games last year," Gortat said. "Everybody's excited we're finally winning."
He had a tough assignment against Washington, trying to keep up with Wall.
"He's a good player. Gets everybody else involved," Oladipo said. "He's improved on his jump shot. He's a one-man fast break."
Maurice Harkless had 16 points, but the Magic still lost for the ninth time in 12 games.
Washington outscored Orlando 30-19 in the second quarter to take a 52-41 lead at the break.
The Magic scored six straight points to pull to 62-55 in the second half, but the Wizards responded with a 9-0 run. Gortat keyed the surge with a pair of jumpers, and Wall had a big jumper and a 3-pointer.
Washington stretched its lead to as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter.
"Their bigs demanded a lot of attention," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "Nene was a force in the inside, Gortat was a force in the inside, and we had to react a little bit, and Ariza made 3s, and there you have it."
Ariza helped the Wizards get off to a fast start, making two 3-pointers and a fast-break dunk during Washington's game-opening 15-2 run. The surge by the Wizards set the stage for a seesaw first half.
Oladipo steadied Orlando with seven quick points. Then, with Wall on the bench, Afflalo scored the final eight points of a 10-0 run that bridged the quarters and gave Orlando a 24-22 early in the second quarter.
The Magic stretched their advantage to five points. But Wall helped the Wizards get back on track offensively and regain the lead for good.
Ariza, Nene and Wall combined for all the points as Washington scored 24 in the final 6:07 of the half. When Wall hit an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer, the Wizards had an 11-point lead.
"It's just something we knew we could do. We're not satisfied," said Ariza, who has made nine of his past 10 3-point tries. "We want to continue this winning thing, make it a tradition around here."
Washington outrebounded Orlando 42-40. ... The Magic were 3-for-15 from 3-point range, compared to 9-for-13 for the Wizards. ... The 80 points were a season low for Orlando and the fewest points allowed this season by Washington.
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 2: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards shoots against the Orlando Magic during the...(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: It was the 2009 NBA Finals all over again for Trevor Ariza, who burned the Magic from behind the 3-point line (just like in that playoff series) and finished with 24 points on 8-for-9 shooting.
X factor: John Wall (16 points and 13 assists) did a great job of attacking Orlando's defense and setting up his teammates. The lone complaint is that Wall settled for way too many jumpers.
Defining moment: After letting a 13-point lead evaporate and trailing 31-28 early in the second quarter, the Wizards regained their footing by going on a 19-6 run to re-establish a double-digit lead. Washington never looked back.
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