Bradley Beal scored 26 points in his return from a five-game absence, Russell Westbrook had his 20th triple-double of the season, and the Washington Wizards made a season-high 19 3-pointers in a 131-116 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.
Washington ended a four-game losing streak, but only after blowing a 21-point third-quarter lead. The Wizards also blew a 19-point lead in the second half of their loss to Toronto on Monday.
Beal, who has been out with a hip contusion since March 27, was inserted into the starting lineup just before tipoff and showed no signs of rust. For the 56th time in 65 games over the last two seasons, he made 11 of 19 shots and 4 of 6 three-pointers and scored at least 25 points.
“Brad had been questionable and a game-time decision for five games, and I like that because I’ve been around a lot of teams and players who would’ve said, ‘I’ll see you guys in two weeks,'” Washington coach Scott Brooks said. “But he wanted to play every night. … Tonight, Brad looked he hadn’t skipped a beat. That’s how dynamic and amazing of a player he is.”
In 26 minutes, Westbrook finished with 23 points, 15 assists, and 14 rebounds. He has five triple-doubles in his last six games and is the only player in the NBA who averages double digits in points, rebounds, and assists. Oscar Robertson has 181 career triple-doubles to his 166.
“Russ is a dynamic player, but he needs shooters around him and bigs who can roll and finish around the rim,” Brooks said. “His game requires that. With a lot of our games it was 3 seconds in the key (for opposing defenses), and it was going to continue to be that way until we made shots. We got our shotmakers back tonight.”
Davis Bertans led Washington with 22 points and six three-pointers.
For Orlando, Terrence Ross scored 24 points and reserve center Mo Bamba had a career-high 19 points. The Magic have now lost three straight and 16 of their last 20 games. The previous seven meetings between the Magic and the Wizards had all been won by the Magic.
“I’m not making a joke — they didn’t miss any (shots),” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “With our defense, they were so open and they shot 57%.”
The Magic closed the third period on a 15-4 run, with Washington leading 96-75. Orlando cut the Wizards’ lead to four points in the fourth quarter thanks to Bamba’s hot shooting, but Beal and Westbrook kept the Wizards in check down the stretch.
Orlando rookie Cole Anthony returned after missing the previous 25 games due to an injury that required a couple of weeks in a sling and a lot of patience. He scored 13 points and had seven assists. On Feb. 9, Anthony was diagnosed with a strained shoulder, but the injury was later determined to be a rib fracture.
“I was just excited when we found out what it was because there was a week where we just didn’t know what was wrong with me and I was in a lot of pain,” said Anthony, who scored seven straight points in a 48-second burst after entering in the first quarter. “Once we found out, I just kind of ran out and told everybody.” –ESPN