By Robert Kling
Nik Vucevic scored 29 points, Evan Fournier added 19, and the Orlando Magic beat the Wiz 123-89.
Orlando took control for good with a 23-5 run to close the second quarter, punctuated by a dunk by Vucevic in the final seconds, for a 69-52 lead.
“When you get a lead early, and the zone (defense) slows the game down, you can lose your concentration, lose your intensity,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “I thought our guys did a good job.”
The advantage ballooned to 29 points in the early stages of the third quarter.
“Runs happen all the time. Things turn around quickly. In the position we are, we can’t afford to relax against a team like that,” Vucevic added. “We were efficient offensively, and on the defensive end, we got some steals and got some easy baskets that opened the game up.”
The Wizards played with a short bench, as a rash of injuries left them with only nine players available. Bradley Beal, the star guard who averaged 34.3 points in the previous three games against Orlando, sat out for the fourth consecutive game since injuring his right leg against the Magic in Washington on Jan. 1.
Admiral Schofield scored 18 points to lead the Wizards, and Troy Brown, Jr. had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
“That’s two games in a row we played this team a step slow,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We were dribbling one extra dribble and late on our passes. When you play this team, you’ve got to be on point. (The Magic are) a good team that I think now is starting to play much better.”