NationalSports

Wall, Beal Lead Wizards Past Magic

John Wall and Bradley Beal scored 30 points apiece and backup center Ian Mahinmi had a season-high 17 as the Washington Wizards snapped a two-game skid Friday with a 125-119 home win over the Orlando Magic.

It was the first time since Nov. 19, 2016, that Wall and Beal both scored 30 or more points in the same game. The star backcourt also combined for 16 assists and six rebounds Friday.

Wall also hit a milestone Friday, becoming the youngest player (27 years and 128 days) in franchise history to tally 10,000 points.

“That guy … goes out there and competes —that’s what makes him a special player,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said of his All-Star point guard. “He plays with bumps and bruises. … He’s a competitor and we needed every bit of his energy and effort and defensive toughness and shot-making ability tonight.”

Brooks said the team’s offense ran smoothly Friday.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal speaks with reporters after team’s 125-119 home victory over the Orlando Magic on Jan. 12. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal speaks with reporters after team’s 125-119 home victory over the Orlando Magic on Jan. 12. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Washington (24-18) shot nearly 57 percent from the floor and scored a season-high 74 points in the paint.

Mahinmi’s 17 points was his highest scoring output in nearly two years.

“I give all credit to my teammates,” he said. “I was just at the right spot at the right time.”

The defense, however, was a different story. The Magic (12-31) ranks near the bottom of the league in offensive efficiency, but scored at will throughout much of Friday’s game.

Orlando point guard Elfrid Payton led the team with 27 points and eight assists. Magic center Bismack Biyombo scored 18 of a career-high 21 points in the first half.

The Magic, which averages 21 free-throw attempts per contest, shot 25-of-31 from the line Friday.

“We gave up so many layups and we fouled,” Brooks said. “Every time they put their head down from the perimeter, they got to the free line. We can complain about why they’re getting calls. We got to move our feet.”

The Wizards tightened up down the stretch, holding Orlando to 21 points in the fourth quarter after allowing 98 through the first three.

“We contested shots and not putting them on the free-throw line,” Wall said. “When we got out in transition and got to a rhythm, we got back to the team we [are capable of being].”

Meanwhile, Wall appeared to slightly twist his left ankle late in the second quarter, which he attributed it to short shoestrings and not being able to tie his shoes tighter. He changed into a different pair at halftime and finished the game to play nearly 37 minutes.

The Wizards face the Brooklyn Nets (16-26) on Saturday in the District. The Nets defeated Washington twice last month in New York City.

Washington completes its five-game homestand Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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