Great Wall's shooting spree not enough

Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (far left) dribbles beside Washington Wizards guard John Wall on Tuesday. Despite Wall's contribution of 52 points, Payton spearheaded Orlando's 124-116 victory.
Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (far left) dribbles beside Washington Wizards guard John Wall on Tuesday. Despite Wall's contribution of 52 points, Payton spearheaded Orlando's 124-116 victory. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

WASHINGTON • In the closing moments of the best scoring night of John Wall's career, fans began the procession to the exits.

His 52 points were not enough as his Washington Wizards spoiled the moment with a defensive dud in their 124-116 defeat by the surging Orlando Magic in the National Basketball Association (NBA) game in front of a crowd of 12,116 at Verizon Centre on Tuesday.

Wall became the fourth NBA player to score 50 or more points in a single game this season after Klay Thompson (60), Russell Westbrook (51) and Anthony Davis (50).

He connected on 18 of 31 shots, including five of eight from three-point range, and 11 free throws. But with little help from his supporting cast, the Wizards lost for the third time in four games.

The Magic, meanwhile, closed out a five-game road trip with a flourish. Reeling from four straight defeats when they departed on their road trip, they upset the Spurs in San Antonio, narrowly lost to the Grizzlies in Memphis, beat the 76ers in Philadelphia and surprised the Pistons in Detroit.

But the defensive-minded Magic discovered a shooting stroke against the defenceless Wizards - posting their highest point total of the season and snapping a 13-game skid against their opponents.

Their pop-a-shot star: Elfrid Payton, a former lottery pick who now plays as the Magic's backup point guard but performed like a starter against the Wizards.

Payton made his first nine shots from the field and finished with a career-best 25 points. His teammates certainly had his back - showing effort on both ends.

Jeff Green scored 20 points, Jodie Meeks had 18 and Nikola Vucevic claimed 10 off the Magic bench.

"We're growing on that end of the floor," Magic coach Frank Vogel said of Orlando's offence.

"We didn't play well early in the season, but some of the guys are finding their spots, and I'm finding ways to use them.

"We got several great contributions, starting with Elfrid Payton. He was having the game of his life and was terrific tonight."

Wizards coach Scott Brooks, on the other hand, was upset with his team's defence, saying: "It's unacceptable. We have to be able to sustain a sense of urgency, possession by possession.

"Until we do that, we're going to put ourselves in a bad position."

In Minnesota, the San Antonio Spurs beat the Timberwolves 105-91 and extended their perfect record on the road to 13-0.

The Spurs are closing in on NBA history. They became just the second team to win their first 13 away games, after the Golden State Warriors won their first 14 of last season.

San Antonio's next game on the road is against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.

WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2016, with the headline 'Great Wall's shooting spree not enough'. Print Edition | Subscribe