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For a brief stretch in the first quarter Wednesday night, the Orlando Magic put together some solid defensive possessions that even gave the home team an early lead against the Washington Wizards.
It was, however, very brief.
From there, it was almost all Wizards. It was difficult enough for the Magic to stop Washington’s explosive duo of Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, but when a team lights up the scoreboard with 11 first-half 3-pointers, it’s hard to keep pace.
Orlando could not slow the Wizards, who hit 73% of their 3-point shots (11-of-15) in the opening half and used the hot shooting to roll to a 131-116 rout of Orlando at Amway Center.
Washington, which led 73-60 at halftime, did cool off a bit in the second half, but it was never enough for the Magic to threaten. Beal, the NBA’s leading scorer, ended up with 26 points. Westbrook, who was averaging a triple-double entering the game, lived up to his usual billing with 23 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds. It was Westbrook’s 20th triple-double of the season.
The Magic did regain the services of rookie point guard Cole Anthony for the game. Anthony, a first-round pick out of North Carolina, had missed the previous 25 games with a fractured rib. He started off well Wednesday, scoring three straight baskets upon entering the contest in the first quarter.
At one point in the first half, Anthony, R.J. Hampton and Chuma Okeke all were on the floor, marking the first time in Magic history that three rookie first-round draft picks were on the floor at the same time.
Nothing Orlando did, however, was enough.
Anthony’s 3-pointer with 3:37 left in the opening period tied the game at 17. The Magic pulled ahead 35-34 to start the second quarter after a Mo Bamba bucket, but the Wizards were just too much Wednesday.
Led by a fourth-quarter flurry from Bamba, the Magic did get within 105-100 late, but Washington outscored Orlando 26-16 the rest of the way. The Wizards wound up shooting 57.6% from the floor, including 19-of-36 from 3-point range. The Wizards missed tying their franchise record for 3-pointers in a game by one.
Terrence Ross led the Magic in scoring with 24 points, Bamba had a career-high 19 points, and Wendell Carter Jr. added 15.