ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Jeff Green and the Washington Wizards used their 3-point game to beat the Orlando Magic.
Green shot 6 for 9 from 3-point range and finished with 24 points as the Wizards defeated the Magic 95-91 Friday night.
Green, who made less than 28 percent of his threes in 69 games with the Magic two years ago, finished with a season high in points.
“He had his 3 game going tonight,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said. “Jeff gave us some opportunities with shooting the 3s, spacing the floor. And if you don’t guard him, he’s great with the ball.”
Green made the go-ahead layup with 42 seconds left in a matchup of teams trying to get into playoff position midway through the season.
Bradley Beal had 27 points and seven assists for the Wizards, who won for the fifth time in seven games.
Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 28 points and nine rebounds, and Aaron Gordon added 22 points and 11 rebounds. But the Magic shot a dreadful 7 for 33 (21 percent) from beyond the arc.
“It is tough when you can’t get anything going from the outside,” said Vucevic. “We’ve been getting good looks the last few games, we just haven’t made them. You’ve just got to knock them down. That’s what it comes down to.”
The Wizards, who extended their lead to 18 points twice in the third quarter, shot 56 percent (15 for 27) from 3-point range, making up for a 52-38 rebound disadvantage.
Green hit three 3s and Otto Porter made two 3-pointers as the Wizards closed out the first half on a 15-5 run for a 50-38 lead at the break.
Washington shot 9 for 15 from 3-point range in first half, while Orlando made 3 of 21 from long distance.
“We were wide open,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “It had nothing to do with ball movement. We had at halftime that 19 of the 21 were wide-open, and we missed those shots.”
Beal and Thomas Bryant combined for 12 points early in the second half as the Wizards stretched their lead to 18. But a 3-pointer by Terrence Ross capped a 15-point run as the Magic got back into the game.
The Magic tied the score on a dunk by Jonathan Isaac with 4:24 left, and a layup by Vucevic with 1:37 left put Orlando up 91-89. But Vucevic missed two free throws with 59.6 seconds left and the Magic didn’t score again.
“We gutted this one out,” said Green. “We fought through the lapses we had and found a way to win.”
VUCEVIC GETS A VOTE
Vucevic, who averages 20.6 points and 11.9 rebounds, has the support of Brooks on making the All-Star team for the first time in his seven NBA seasons. “He’s playing as well as anybody in the league at his spot,” Brooks said before the game. “He’s made himself a good player and deserves for coaches to vote for him.”
Wizards: It was the opening game of a three-game trip for the Wizards, who have won 19 of 23 against Orlando. …The Wizards got to their hotel at 4 a.m., after Thursday night’s nationally televised game against Golden State.
Magic: Terrence Ross came off the bench to score 16 points on the fifth anniversary of his 50-point game for Toronto against the Los Angeles Clippers. … G Jonathan Simmons is back in the rotation after a string of five straight DNPs. “(Getting to the basket) is not a strength of our team and it’s a strength for him,” coach Steve Clifford said. “So that’s why I want to go that way for a while.”
Wizards: At San Antonio on Sunday night.
Magic: At Houston on Sunday night.
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