Thanks to a game-high 32 points from the streaking Bradley Beal and a career-best eight 3-pointers from newcomer Bojan Bogdanovic, the Washington Wizards came back from a 17-point second-half deficit Sunday to defeat the Orlando Magic, 115-114, at Verizon Center.
Bogdanovic, playing in his sixth game since being acquired just before last month’s trade deadline from the Brooklyn Nets, hit his final 3-pointer on the right side of the arc with 46.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter, which turned out to be the game-winner. He scored 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, including five of his eight 3-pointers.
“It’s fun for all of us and the crowd also when you play good,” he said. “A completely different team stepped out of the locker room after [being down at halftime by] 16 to get back in the game and to win the game. It’s really awesome.”
Although Wizards head coach Scott Brooks was pleased with the victory, he expressed displeasure with the team’s defense, which allowed the Magic to score 61 first-half points and shoot 52 percent from the floor.
“We defended one possession at the end of the game” Brooks said. “Our defense was really good for one possession tonight and that was it. We’ve been talking about this for the last couple of games. We all have it in us to be better defenders, but we have to do it individually and collectively as a group.”
Sunday’s win kept Washington (37-24) in third place in the Eastern Conference, a game ahead of the Toronto Raptors (37-26), which lost Saturday to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Despite allowing seven Magic players to score in double figures, Washington notched its 11th double-digit comeback win this season. Orlando led 88-71 late in the third quarter before the Wizards mounted its run.
Beal, who twisted his left ankle after stepping on the foot of Magic small forward Terrence Ross in the first quarter, kept his hot streak going Sunday, scoring more than 20 points for the sixth straight game and the 10th time in his past 11. Ross, who joined Orlando last month via trade from the Toronto Raptors, led the Magic with 20 points.
The Wizards begin a seven-day, five-game West Coast road trip Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns (21-42), which won at the buzzer Sunday against the Boston Celtics, a team two games ahead of the Wizards for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
All five teams the Wizards will face out West have a losing record.
“We have a good opportunity to go against teams that don’t have a good record, but that doesn’t always mean [anything],” said point guard John Wall, who recorded his 40th double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 assists. “Phoenix is one of those teams playing well after the All-Star break. We just got to take one game at a time and try to finish the road trip with a winning record.”