The Washington Wizards, sparked by 18 points off the bench from Jeff Green, defeated the Orlando Magic 117-109 at home Monday, giving the team its second victory in a row and first winning streak of the young season.
Green, a Prince George’s County, Maryland, native, shot 6-of-7 from the floor along with six rebounds and two steals to help avenge a road loss Friday to the Magic (6-8).
“We can’t dwell much on these two wins,” said Green, who has shot 21-for-28 over the past four games. “We still have a lot of work to do. We still have to get better in some areas. We have to watch film tomorrow … and what we can work on.”
John Wall led the Wizards with 25 points and 10 assists, while backcourt mate Bradley Beal chipped in with 21 points.
Beal praised Green’s professionalism on and off the court.
“Jeff is amazing,” Beal said. “I always give him a lot of credit. He’s so skilled in a lot of ways. He’s a great camaraderie guy. He’s a great locker room guy. It’s just evident on the floor [where] he can play multiple positions. It makes our life a lot easier.”
Washington outrebounded Orlando 41-34, the second straight game the Wizards grabbed more rebounds than their opponents after losing that battle the first 11 games of the season.
Wizards center Dwight Howard, who played the first eight years of his career for the Magic, had 17 points and 8 rebounds against his former team, but sat in the fourth quarter.
One of the Wizards’ targeted areas for improvement remains defense. Orlando shot 15-of-30, or 50 percent, from 3-point range. Magic guard Terrance Ross led the team with 21 points off the bench (4-of-5 from deep) and starting shooting guard Evan Fournier scored 20 points, included 3-of-7 from the 3-point stripe.
However, the Wizards’ intensity picked up in the final frame, recording three steals that led to several layups and trips to the line. Washington attempted 18 of its 33 free throws in the quarter.
The game was tight throughout, as the teams were tied at the end of the first, second and third quarters. But Washington went on a 14-4 run to take a 108-98 lead with four minutes left, and Orlando wouldn’t get any closer than five the rest of the way.
“I thought everybody competed on the defensive end in the fourth quarter,” said Washington head coach Scott Brooks. “It’s two games in a row we’ve outrebounded our opponent. When you have that small lineup, it’s a lot of skill offensively. It’s a lot of playmakers. We didn’t give them a lot of second-chance points like we did in the past [games this season].”
The Wizards continue a five-game homestand Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers (1-11) and Friday against the Brooklyn Nets (6-7).