Wizards visit Magic hoping to increase winning streak
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The first two times the Washington Wizards posted four-game winning streaks, John Wall was healthy and participating.
This time, Wall is days removed from left knee surgery.
Washington attempts to match a season high with a fourth straight win Saturday night when it visits the Orlando Magic.
The Wizards (29-22) are averaging 117.7 points on 49 percent shooting after going 3-6 from Jan. 6-25. They improved to 8-6 without Wall as Bradley Beal led eight players in double figures with 27 points in a 122-119 comeback win over the Toronto Raptors Thursday.
During Wall's previous absence, Tim Frazier was the starting point guard but this time Tomas Satoransky started alongside Beal in the backcourt. Satoransky finished with 10 points and had 17 assists in his last three games while helping hold opposing point guards Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroder to 20-of-49 shooting from the field.
Beal also recorded six of Washington's season-high 30 assists while getting 25 of his 27 points in the second half.
"Everybody eats," Beal told reporters "That's our motto. Everybody eats when we move the ball."
The Wizards are averaging 32.3 assists in their last three games, raising their season average to 23.7.
"We know we are going to be without (Wall) for a stretch of games," coach Scott Brooks told reporters. "We have met, and we have talked and we are trying to figure out ways how we can win and still be effective because we have a prideful group, guys that care.
"We have enough, and my job is to find ways to keep moving the scoreboard and keep getting the defensive stops that we need. John is one of the fastest, quickest, toughest guards I have ever coached, and we had to make adjustments without him."
However, at times, the Wizards have not done things consistently since half of their losses are against teams with losing records.
Orlando is seeking consecutive wins for the first time since Nov. 10-11 when it opened with an 8-4 record.
The Magic (15-35) are 7-31 since their last winning streak and in their previous six attempts at consecutive wins, the margin of defeat has been 9.3 points.
The Magic are coming off one of their better showings of the season as they hit 18 3-pointers and led for the final 41-plus minutes in a 127-105 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday, doing so a night after allowing James Harden's 60-point game in Houston.
Orlando played without starting forward and leading scorer Aaron Gordon (hip flexor), who is listed as questionable. If Gordon sits for a third straight game, Marreese Speights will start after scoring a season-high 21 points Wednesday.
"We could have come into this game and had the excuse that we lost a close game against a great team (on Tuesday in Houston), but we came with a great mindset," Speights told reporters. "We had the opportunity to get a good win (Wednesday) after losing the one (Tuesday) night against a hot team. I'm proud of the guys who came in with no excuses and got the win."
Speights' showing was part of Orlando's fourth win in 15 games. During those games, the Magic have nine losses by single-digits, including close losses to Cleveland and Houston.
"(Winning) is important," Magic coach Frank Vogel said. "You can talk about staying positive and how well we're doing individually and the habits that we're building, but you need results to reinforce what we're doing. Our guys are bringing it, playing the right way and playing together. I'm happy for them that they got the 'W.' "
The Wizards are 16-2 in the last 18 meetings. Beal scored 30 points in Washington's 125-119 home win on Jan. 12 while seven players reached double figures in the Wizards' 130-103 rout on Dec. 23.
Updated February 3, 2018