Wizards finish eighth in East after 101-92 loss to Magic, setting up playoff matchup with Raptors
By Dick Scanlon
Apr 11, 2018 | 11:55 PM
The Washington Wizards went cold in the final quarter of their final game of the regular season — and it cost them.
The Wizards shot 5-for-25 in the fourth quarter and 34 percent for the game, losing 101-92 to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night and finishing eighth in the Eastern Conference playoff seeding.
"We just couldn't make any shots tonight. Nobody had a shot fall consistently other than Jodie [Meeks]," coach Scott Brooks said. "The Magic made the plays when they wanted, when they needed to, and we didn't. They played better than us tonight."
Meeks came off the bench with five 3-pointers to score a game-high 18 points for Washington, which lost five of its final six games. A win would have pulled the Wizards (43-39) up to seventh place and a first-round playoff series against Boston. Instead, they will play Toronto in the opening round.
"I was telling the guys in the locker room that we don't condone any losses, but we throw this one out. We move on," said Bradley Beal, who scored 13 points. "We shot ourselves in the foot. We have done it all year.
Arron Afflalo hit five of six shots in the second quarter in leading Orlando to a 55-45 halftime lead.
Washington regained the lead early in the fourth quarter, but a 3-pointer by Purvis put Orlando ahead to stay at 84-81. After a layup by Beal pulled the Wizards to within two at 86-84 with 4:34 left, they went more than three minutes without scoring while Orlando pulled ahead by 10.
Brooks decided to rest guard John Wall, who had played 36 minutes in Tuesday night's win over Boston.
"Let's face it, any time you lose one of the best players in the league, it puts your team in a tough position," Brooks said. "We're a different team with him, like any team would be. He's dynamic, he's explosive, gets easy points for all of us."
Easy points weren't easy to come by Wednesday night.
"To see us take a playoff team that needed a win and hold them to 34 percent shooting, I'm very proud of that," Magic coach Frank Vogel said.
The Magic (25-25) played the second half without Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, D.J. Augustin and Bismack Biyombo, who combined for 26 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.
"It doesn't mean much, but it's always better than losing," Vucevic said.
Magic forward Marreese Speights was ejected with 8:59 left in the third quarter after elbowing Marcin Gortat in the face while both were walking up the court. A double technical was called on the play.
Gortat said the Wizards are confident first-round underdogs.
"We have a team with a lot of veterans. We've been playing together a long time and we have been in big battles in the past," he said. "We need to play our game with a lot better effort than we did today."