Magic rally from 21 down to win 119-109 as Wizards tie franchise record with 16th straight loss – Metro US

Magic rally from 21 down to win 119-109 as Wizards tie franchise record with 16th straight loss

Magic Wizards Basketball
Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner celebrates during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizardsw, Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in Washington. The Magic won 119-109. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Franz Wagner scored 28 points, Paolo Banchero added 25 and the Orlando Magic rallied from a 21-point second-quarter deficit to beat Washington 119-109 on Wednesday night, handing the Wizards their 16th consecutive loss.

Washington (9-53) tied a team record for longest losing streak, matching a skid from the 2009-10 season. The Wizards looked on their way to ending this slide, but were done in by a 44-point second half against one of the league’s best defensive teams.

“It is a tied-together group that loves to defend, loves to cover for each other, play the right way, play for one another,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “We talked about that. That was the conversation at halftime.”

Orlando (37-26) has won eight of nine.

Jordan Poole scored 26 points for Washington, which hasn’t won since a victory at San Antonio on Jan. 29. Kyle Kuzma added 25 points for the Wizards, who haven’t won at home since Dec. 29 against Brooklyn.

Washington led by 11 after the first quarter and a 3-pointer by Johnny Davis made it 52-31 in the second. It was 65-53 at halftime before the Wizards were held to 18 points in the third quarter.

“When you play defense, you have a chance to win games. They weren’t winning games for a couple years, and they just started playing defense, they started winning games,” Kuzma said. “How do you do that? You’ve got to want to play defense and want to play team defense. That’s what we have to learn and that’s what we have to get to if we want to not be this type of ballclub.”

A layup by Banchero tied it at 72, and then neither team led by more than three for over 14 minutes, before a dunk by Moritz Wagner — Franz’s brother — made it 102-97.

Moritz Wagner added a three-point play to cap a 14-1 run, and the Magic led 107-97. He scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.

It was the largest comeback of the season for the Magic, who last rallied from a 21-point deficit on Jan. 30, 2023, at Philadelphia. The last time Orlando had a bigger comeback was Nov. 21, 2014, at Charlotte, when the team overcame a 23-point deficit to win.

“Wasn’t really much to talk about scheme-wise,” Banchero said. “There was no reason to talk about any scheme at halftime. It was just our effort and how hard we wanted to play.”

Banchero had 10 assists.

“Paolo’s an All-Star, Franz is on his way to being an All-Star,” Mosley said. “The way in which they play off each other, and then it becomes selfless, and it carries over to the rest of the group.”


Magic: At New York on Friday night.

Wizards: Host Charlotte on Friday night.

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba