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Balanced-scoring Magic pull away from Wizards

Mar 21, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz (20) shoots over Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis (6) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Seven Orlando players scored at least 14 points, led by Gary Harris’ 22, and the Magic dealt a blow to the visiting Washington Wizards’ play-in aspirations with a 122-112 win on Tuesday.

Orlando (30-43) led for almost the entire second half, but took control over the game’s final 3:21 when Wendell Carter Jr. knocked down a 3-pointer off of one of Paolo Banchero’s eight assists.

Carter’s basket extended the Magic lead to seven points and jump-started a 15-9 run to close out the contest.

Banchero scored Orlando’s final six points to keep the Wizards at bay. He finished with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and matched Carter’s team-high total of nine rebounds.

Orlando’s Franz Wagner added 20 points with six assists, Markelle Fultz went for 17 points, and Carter scored 14 points.

Cole Anthony and Moritz Wagner added 16 and 15 points off the bench, respectively, with Anthony also grabbing seven boards and passing for five assists.

Orlando’s balanced scoring was a byproduct of solid 43-of-80 shooting (53.8 percent) from the floor, including 12-of-27 success (44.4 percent) from 3-point range.

Washington (32-40) dropped its third straight and the opener of a back-to-back set, as the Wizards return home on Wednesday to face the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets.

Kristaps Porzingis returned to the lineup after missing Washington’s Saturday loss to the Sacramento Kings due to an illness, and he scored a game-high 30 points. However, Kyle Kuzma was a late scratch because of an ankle sprain.

Bradley Beal scored 16 points and handed out seven assists for the Wizards, but was limited due to early foul trouble. He was called for his fourth early in the third period, and he wound up shooting 3-for-8 from the floor in the second half with misses on both of his 3-point attempts.

Washington’s Monte Morris scored 14 points and dished a team-high eight assists. Daniel Gafford scored 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor, and Deni Avdija added 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds off the bench.

–Field Level Media