Wizards' Beal expects playoff intensity against Magic
The Orlando Magic will visit the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night in a matchup of teams chasing the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
The ninth-place Magic trail the eighth-place Miami Heat by one game and the 11th-place Wizards are 3 ½ games behind the Heat.
The Wizards opened a crucial five-game homestand with a 121-115 win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. After Orlando, the Wizards welcome the tenth-place Charlotte Hornets on Friday.
"It's almost like win-or-go-home-type-feel games," Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. "We need those two. Those are two teams ahead of us and in our division on top of that. I think those are double whammies in a way. We got to make sure we are ready to go on Wednesday and Friday."
Beal had 27 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and Bobby Portis added 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Wizards ended a two-game skid on Monday despite surrendering a 14-point lead.
Jabari Parker scored 18 points, Tomas Satoransky had 17 and Jeff Green's two free throws gave Washington the lead for good with 2:16 remaining.
"I thought we executed down the stretch, we got the stops that we needed," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "The key to tonight was we didn't give up a lot of offensive rebounds like we did the last two games. Hopefully that continues. We rebound, we give ourselves the best chance to win."
Washington entered the game second-last in the league in rebounding margin but equaled the Kings with 47 boards.
The Magic, who have lost three of four, were dealing with health issues on Tuesday. Starting forward Aaron Gordon sat out practice because of injured ribs he sustained during Sunday's loss in Memphis and is listed as questionable for Wednesday night.
Gordon is the team's second-leading scorer (15.9 points per game) and rebounder (7.4).
Reserve forward Wes Iwundu (toe injury) also did not practice.
"So, we'll see how they feel 1/8Wednesday 3/8," Clifford told the Orlando Sentinel.
The Magic made only one field goal in the final 7:57 on Sunday, allowing Memphis to overcome a seven-point Orlando lead for a 105-97 win. Mike Conley's basket with 14 seconds left put Memphis ahead 100-97 and on the ensuing Orlando possession, Conley stole the ball from Terrence Ross along the Orlando baseline to put the game out of reach.
Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Ross added 15 points as the Orlando reserves combined for 42 points.
Magic coach Steve Clifford expressed his displeasure with the officiating late in the game and was ejected after drawing two technical fouls. Evan Fournier left early in the third quarter, drawing two quick technicals for complaining about calls.
"Those were uncalled for, unwarranted and it changed the whole game," Clifford told the Sentinel regarding the Fournier technicals. "So, it took us all out of our rotation. He's the guy we play through most late in the game, and it changed everything."
The Wizards hold a 2-1 series lead, winning 117-109 in Washington on Nov. 12 and 95-91 at Orlando on Jan. 25. The Magic won 117-108 at home on Nov. 9.
Washington is 20-12 at home while Orlando is 13-21 on the road.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 12, 2019