Ariza, Wall lead Wizards past Magic 98-80

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 2, 2013 at 10:36 pm •  Published: December 2, 2013
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Wizards are a .500 basketball team for the first time in years, and John Wall wants to build on the early success.

Wall had 16 points and 13 assists to lead Washington to a 98-80 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.

Trevor Ariza scored 24 points, Nene had 14 and Marcin Gortat finished with 13 as Washington (9-9) got to .500 for the first time since it split its first four games of the 2009-10 season, when Wall was just a touted freshman at Kentucky.

"We are playing basketball the right way, trusting our teammates and trusting our defensive concepts," Wall said.

With top scorer Bradley Beal out of the lineup for the fifth straight game, Ariza supplied the offense. He was 8 for 9 from the field and made each of his four 3-point attempts, three off passes from Wall.

The Wizards have won seven of nine and are 4-1 since Beal went out with a leg injury.

Reaching .500 is no small feat for a Washington team that opened 0-8 in 2011-12 and 0-12 last year.

"These guys lost a lot of games last year," Gortat said. "Everybody's excited we're finally winning."

Arron Afflalo scored 21 points for Orlando, and Victor Oladipo added 13 points and six rebounds in a special game for the rookie. Oladipo is from nearby Upper Marlboro, Md.

He had a tough assignment against Washington, trying to keep up with Wall.

"He's a good player. Gets everybody else involved," Oladipo said. "He's improved on his jump shot. He's a one-man fast break."

Maurice Harkless had 16 points, but the Magic still lost for the ninth time in 12 games.

Washington outscored Orlando 30-19 in the second quarter to take a 52-41 lead at the break.

The Magic scored six straight points to pull to 62-55 in the second half, but the Wizards responded with a 9-0 run. Gortat keyed the surge with a pair of jumpers and Wall had a big jumper and a 3-pointer.



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