Beal was back, threes were finally falling and the result was a 131-116 win against the Magic before the Wizards’ six-game trip heads west. It wasn’t just Beal hitting from beyond the arc — point guard Russell Westbrook made all three of his attempts, and forward Davis Bertans made 6 of 11. The hot streak even included rookie Deni Avdija, who made 4 of 7.
“[Having a healthy roster] gets everybody in their natural roles that we have planned,” Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said. “A lot of threes, people moving the ball, lot of assists. . . . Our passing tonight was really good.”
Washington (18-32) hit a season-high 19 three-pointers all told, a mark that helped soothe the sting of a heartbreaking loss Monday. Rui Hachimura returned, too, after missing two games with right shoulder tightness, and backup center Robin Lopez played despite being a game-time decision with right quadriceps tightness.
With their full complement back, the Wizards, 13th in the East, won a largely offensive duel with Orlando (17-34), the team sitting just below them at 14th.
Beal led all scorers with 26 points on 11-for-19 shooting and looked his normal slinky self maneuvering around defenders even after dealing with shooting pain down his right leg since getting injured. The guard said a nerve inside his hip area has been affected.
“The swelling and the inflammation from the fall just kind of compressed a nerve, and that was just shooting sharp pains down my leg the last week and a half that kept me out of games,” Beal said, “kept me out of doing a lot of stuff on the floor. It’ll be a day-by-day thing, just keeping the nerve as calm as possible. It’s kind of tough. There’s nothing that you can specifically do for a nerve but let it rest and calm down.”
As for treatment, Beal said his rehab has involved dry needling and cupping as he and the team’s medical staff try to manage the pain.
“Other than that, anything else kind of irritates the muscle that’s already inflamed,” Beal said. “I got a lot of blood built up in the muscle. Just have to be able to flush it out as best I can. The only thing that really feels good is movement, and that’s kind of weird because it doesn’t always feel great moving all the time. So it’s just kind of a how you feel by day and try to push through as you can.”
Westbrook supported Beal with another triple-double with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 15 assists.
Bertans had 22 points, including six three-pointers. Lopez had 19 points off the bench.
Washington’s offense regained its flow right away with Beal and Hachimura back in the starting lineup. Beal not only picked up right where he left off and poured in 16 points before halftime, but the Wizards’ offense was also more fluid and shots opened up — as did lanes in the paint, giving Westbrook opportunity to attack the basket and efficiently fill the stat sheet.
Bertans carried over a strong shooting night from Monday’s game against the Raptors, hit 4 of 6 three-pointers in the first half and added four makes from the foul line for 16 points to match Beal at intermission. Washington shot 61.9 percent from the field before halftime and stayed steady even when the Magic came within four points of the lead early in the fourth quarter.
“[Bertans] has never really looked the same from the start of the season, but the last two games, it’s crazy that he has,” Brooks said. “This is how he played last year. We need him to look this way. He’s not going to go 6 for 11 every night, but you’re going to see more of those nights than not. You can just see something’s different. He’s moving around better.”
Terrence Ross led the hosts with 24 points, and Mo Bamba had 19.
After allowing Orlando to keep pace thanks to 10 first-half turnovers, the Wizards did what they often struggle to do and closed the period strong, ending on a 12-4 run capped by an energy-boosting bucket at the buzzer from Avdija — another three.