Magic revive late, repel Wizards
D.J. Augustin hit a 3-pointer with just over two minutes remaining, then set up Terrence Ross for another score with 1:50 left and made a steal shortly after that to get the crowd going at Amway Center.
Nikola Vucevic then had a huge blocked shot and Evan Fournier buried a critical 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining and the Orlando Magic came alive late to escape with a 117-108 victory over the Washington Wizards on night.
It was just enough momentum for the Magic to overcome a Wizards rally that had all but wiped away a 25-point Orlando third quarter. That lapse certainly will not make coach Steve Clifford happy, as he has continued to watch the Magic relinquish big leads this season. He wanted his team to keep its foot on the accelerator once it got some momentum and the Magic did that Friday night for a while.
But then the Wizards stormed Friday back and got within 106-105 with 2:30 left.
The Magic, who improved to 5-7, were led by Vucevic’s 21 points and 14 rebounds. Aaron Gordon added 20 points, Mohamed Bamba and Fournier had 15 points each, Jerian Grant chipped in 13 points off the bench, Ross had 12 points and Augustin had 11. The Magic shot 51 percent from the field.
Orlando opened the game sluggish, but the starters regained composure after falling behind by 11 points early.
Then the bench players took over. At one point just before halftime, the Magic had hit 60 percent of their field goals, including 63 percent from 3-point range (7 of 11).
The Magic beefed up their lead to as many as 25 points in the third quarter.
The Wizards started to rally, but Orlando recovered just in time to avoid another loss.
Orlando now hits the road to play at the New York Knicks on Sunday and then get a rematch with the Wizards on Monday.
The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier, left, makes a shot in front of the Washington Wizards’ Jeff Green on Friday night.