Key Legislature: Wizards 105 at Magic 98: Wall Works His Magic in Orlando | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 105 at Magic 98: Wall Works His Magic in Orlando

Updated: October 31, 2014


Truth About’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment for the Washington Wizards’ first win of the season, over the Orlando Magic in Florida, via Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) from the confines of the District of Columbia.

DC Council Key Legislature

by Rashad Mobley.

The Wizards just could not separate themselves from the pesky, scrappy Orlando Magic team in the second quarter. They were up six on two different occasions early in the second period (it could have been seven points had Nene and Glen Rice Jr. not missed free throws), but both times Orlando’s Aaron Gordon made timely baskets—an alley-oop and runner in the lane—to cut the lead back down to four points. With five minutes left in the quarter, the Magic managed to tie the game, and after a few lead changes, the Magic finally jumped ahead 44-41 on a Tobias Harris 3-pointer. Both teams were struggling through the type of fatigue brought on from playing the previous night, and both teams were shooting over 50 percent for the quarter, which meant just a hint of second quarter-ending momentum could be the boost that both teams needed.

The Magic and Wizards were tied with 3.9 seconds left in the period when Elfrid Payton drove the lane and missed. Marcin Gortat grabbed the rebound (his fifth of the quarter), and smartly gave the ball to John Wall (who then had seven points on six shots with nine assists). Wall raced down the court, found an open spot on the right side of the floor, and confidently made an above-the-break 3 over the outstretched arms of Evan Fournier.


Immediately after the shot, Comcast SportsNet’s Steve Buckhantz commented that the Wizards had captured the momentum needed to make a push in the second half. Just before halftime, his colleague Chris Miller mentioned that Coach Randy Wittman was not happy with his team’s defense, and wanted them to focus on keeping the Magic’s shooting percentage down (Orlando shot 57 percent in the first half). Momentum, plus better defense, plus an inspired Wall equaled a big third quarter for the Wizards.

Wall played well in the first half, but was decidedly more aggressive in the third, where he shot 5-for-9 with 11 points. Gortat and Paul Pierce were equally as aggressive with eight and seven points, respectively, and the Wizards shot 57 percent while forcing the Magic to shoot 21 percentage points lower (36%). Washington went from looking disinterested and disjointed in the first half to playing like a playoff team, and the catalyst which led to that momentum switch was Wall’s shot at the end of the second quarter.

The Wizards rode a wave of positive vibrations until halfway through the fourth quarter, when they reverted to their first-half ways. Nene and Gortat missed free throws, Kevin Seraphin and Glen Rice committed turnovers, and during one mid-fourth quarter stretch, the Wizards took and missed four jump shots from 19, 22, 22, and 27 feet. Defensively, Washington helped Orlando regain their first-half confidence by allowing them to shoot 55 percent from the field in the fourth. The Magic went on a 27-14 run in the third quarter led by Nikola Vucevic (nine points on 4-for-8 shooting) in the paint, and Ben Gordon from the free throw line (6-for-7). After Gordon hit the last of his three free throws, the Magic trailed 100-98 after being down as many as 17 points earlier in the period. Wall came to the rescue once again, with the game (not momentum) at stake.

First he drove the lane for an easy layup to put the Wizards up four points, then he rebounded a 20-foot miss by Vucevic. And when the Magic fouled Wall twice in the last 14 seconds, he responded by hitting three of four free throws. Wall had five points in the last 44 seconds, the Magic went scoreless, and the Wizards got their first win of the season, 105-98. The Game Changer lived up to his moniker with 30 points, 12 assists and just two turnovers in 36 minutes of play. After the game, Wall said exactly what the leader of a team should say:

“I’m basically the head of the snake on the offensive and defensive end. … I knew we couldn’t go into the season 0-2, so I’m going to come out with more energy and play better on the defensive end.”

The Bullets.

  • Garrett Temple seemed to be the only Wizard who looked interested and ready to play in the first quarter, scoring 10 points in 10 minutes. He only scored two points over the remainder of the game, which was disappointing, but in two games he’s shooting 44 percent (4-of-9) from 3-point range, which is Bradley Beal-esque. For more on Temple check out Ben Standig’s article on CSN Washington.
  • Last night marked the debut of Nene, and he scored a quiet 12 points and three steals—33 minutes in October seems a bit high for Nene and, at this rate, he’ll be subtly begging (via the media) for a reduction by mid-November. His temper is already in playoff mode.
  • Apparently the demise of Ben Gordon was greatly exaggerated. He scored 22 points, got into the lane at will, and he reprised his Chicago Bulls reputation as a closer by scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter.
  • Welcome to the NBA, Elfrid Payton. He had seven assists, six turnovers and four fouls in 22 minutes, and he had a front row seat to the John Wall show.
  • On opening night it was R.I.P, Rasual Butler.  Last night, we said the same to Glen Rice, Jr.


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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop,, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.