Normally a team allowing its second-highest point total of the season is not in a position to celebrate. When you score your team’s highest point total of the season, like the Orlando Magic did on Tuesday night in the nation’s capital, they had plenty to smile about.
The Magic overcame the 52-point effort by Washington Wizards guard John Wall to post a 124-116 victory at the Verizon Center. With the victory, the Magic finished their road trip with a 4-1 record. Had they not let a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead get away in Memphis, they would have been perfect.
Along with Wall’s heroics in a losing cause, the other story of the game is the Magic bench. While the starters contributed 51 points, the second unit tallied 73 points to lead the victory.
Elfrid Payton had a monster game with 25 points, nine assists, three blocked shots and three steals. Jodie Meeks, in just his third game back from injury, had 18 points and Jeff Green had 20.
Among the starters, Bismack Biyombo had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Seven Magic players scored in double figures.
“We want to win by committee,” said Meeks. We don’t have a 30-point scorer, so we need to win by committee.”
The statistics do not lie. This was a perfect illustration of the committee approach. All nine players who saw action made a contribution.
“Some of the guys are finding their spots and I am finding out ways to use them,” said Magic Coach Frank Vogel. “The balancing out of the units has benefited the starting unit and second unit. It’s going to be fluid all year. A few guys in that second unit now will be starters.”
Despite the offensive burst, the talk still centers on defense.
“We want to be the best defensive team in the league,” said Vogel, noting the Magic were ranked third in that category coming into the game. “Our numbers will go up after tonight, but we will keep at it.”
The Magic can be a very good team if their offense continues to play as well as it has on this road trip. Shooting percentages go up when shooters get open looks.
“The ball is moving and everybody is contributing,” said Vogel. “The offense looked solid (Tuesday).”
Orlando broke a nine-game losing streak in Washington with the victory. While Vogel noted the team is still 10-12, he was also visibly pleased with how they played on this road trip.
Despite being away for more than a week, the Magic will be back in action on Wednesday when the Boston Celtics come to the Amway Center.