Magic rally in final quarter to beat Wizards
WASHINGTON (AP) — Paolo Banchero is finishing strong in his bid for Rookie of the Year honors.
Banchero had 30 points and 12 rebounds, Markelle Fultz added 25 points and the Orlando Magic overcame a 16-point second half deficit to beat the Washington Wizards 116-109 on Friday night.
The Wizards managed only 13 points in the final quarter and fell to three games behind Chicago for the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference with five games remaining. Orlando remained four games behind the Bulls, who routed Charlotte 121-91.
Banchero, the No. 1 pick in last year's draft out of Duke, is the clear favorite to win Rookie of the Year, and Fultz gave him an endorsement.
“I think you just see it, playing both ends of the floor, being able to create, being confident and poised," Fultz said. "I don't really think it's any discussion about it, but of course people got to vote.”
Washington was without its top three players — Bradley Beal (left knee), Kristaps Porzingis (illness) and Kyle Kuzma (right ankle).
Corey Kispert scored a career-high 27 points for Washington but did not manage a shot attempt in the fourth until the final minute. He made nine of the Wizards' 17 3-pointers.
Washington scored the first 13 points of the third quarter and led 76-60. The Magic cut the lead to three later in the quarter but the Wizards were up 96-85 entering the fourth.
In that final period, however, Orlando shut Washington down. The Wizards went 1 of 11 from long distance in the fourth and 5 of 23 from the field.
“Some of the shots we were passing up, we've got to just take them, make or miss,” Wizards guard Delon Wright said. “I feel like that was the biggest thing — just not being confident in some of the shots we were taking.”
The Magic finally took a 105-103 lead on a 3-pointer by Cole Anthony. That was part of a 13-2 run that put Orlando up by eight.
Anthony scored seven of his 16 points in the fourth.
“That midrange, I think we found a time in the possessions that it was a clean look, it was the right look," Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. "His ability to walk in there and step in there with confidence is what we've asked him to do.”
Wright credited Orlando's zone defense with helping to turn the tide, and Mosley said the Magic defended well as a team.
“Our guys did a great job communicating," Mosley said. "Our bench was doing a fantastic job of communicating with those guys on the floor, knowing where Kispert was, finding shooters.”
Magic: Kevon Harris (left elbow) did not play. ... Fultz went 11 of 15 from the field. ... Franz Wagner had 20 points. ... Banchero went 13 of 14 on free throws. The Wizards as a team were just 10 of 12. ... Orlando has won four of five, including two victories over Washington.
Wizards: Kispert's previous career high was 26 points. ... Delon Wright had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Daniel Gafford contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds. ... Rookie Johnny Davis scored 10 points but went 4 of 15 from the field. ... Washington attempted a season-high 50 3-pointers. ... The Wizards used 11 players, although Kispert played 41:52.
Magic: Host Detroit on Sunday night.
Wizards: At New York on Sunday night.
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