Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 125, Washington Wizards 121

Nikola Vucevic helped pace the Orlando Magic as they held on to defeat the Washington Wizards.(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nikola Vucevic helped pace the Orlando Magic as they held on to defeat the Washington Wizards.(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic built up enough of a cushion to withstand the Washington Wizards’ last gasp and ride Markelle Fultz’s heroics to the finish.

38. Final. 121. 142. 125

The Orlando Magic knew they were not going to keep Bradley Beal down for long.

One of the league’s top scorers had sort of skated through the game to that point. He had his moments, but the Magic largely contested his shots and made it difficult for him to get going. The team held the Washington Wizards to one shot and kept a healthy distance throughout the second half.

Beal was always liable to catch fire. Then the shots started falling. The Magic could not just run out the clock. Beal was going to push the Wizards to make the game closer and closer.

A 3-pointer with about a minute to play capped off a 44-point fourth quarter and brought the Wizards back from 18 down to within one. The Magic would have to scratch and claw defensively.

The team had to run Beal off the 3-point line and got him to drive the lane. He tried kicking back out to Isaiah Thomas where Markelle Fultz was waiting.

Markelle Fultz tipped the ball out to midcourt and corralled it, driving to the rim and finishing with a two-handed jam and foul that got the NBA world buzzing. More importantly, it delivered a 125-121 Magic win at the Amway Center on Sunday, completing a 4-1 homestand.

The Magic got the big moments they needed late to hold off the Wizards. But even coach Steve Clifford did not seem too upset by the 44-point quarter his team had given up. After the game, he said he felt the team’s defense on Beal was fine during the quarter and he hit tough shots.

Orlando was able to answer and hold Washington at bay. The Magic themselves scored 37 points in the fourth quarter. The Wizards struggle defensively and it seemed throughout the game that as long as the Magic moved the ball and stayed patient to get the best shot, they would get a good shot.

That was certainly the case as the team hit on 49.4 percent of its shots, made 24 of 26 free throws and made 15 3-pointers (on 38 attempts). Orlando was always able to find an open shot and get the ball in the paint.

The Magic opened up as much as an 18-point lead in the second half as the starters just blitzed the team with patient ball movement. From there, the team just hung on and kept the Wizards at bay until they had to finish the job in the fourth.

A-. The NBA world was talking about Markelle Fultz after his steal and finish at the rim. It was the kind of highlight-reel closeout moment that everyone thought would be commonplace for him in his career. This was a hallmark night for Fultz. And he did so much right — especially considering <a rel=. PG. Orlando Magic. MARKELLE FULTZ

A. <a href=. C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC

B+. <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER

Orlando Magic. D.J. AUGUSTIN. B. Midway through the second quarter, <a href=. PG

3-8. 14th East. WASHINGTON WIZARDS. C+. The Washington Wizards are a team that relies wholly on their offense. They will try to put pressure on teams with a constant 3-point barrage and enough attacks to keep pace. They like to trap and switch defensively to try to force turnovers and get out on the break. Controlling the pace and staying patient offensively were keys for the Orlando Magic.<p>And Orlando did that for the most part. The Wizards got eaten up defensively with the Magic’s ball movement. It really felt like it was Orlando determining whether it was going to let Washington hang around with its ball movement. The Wizards just needed a few misses to get themselves going.</p><p>The Wizards really could not break the Magic’s half-court defense until Bradley Beal (34 points, 12-for-26 shooting) and <a href=

Next. Orlando Magic have the tools to get to the foul line. dark

The Orlando Magic begin a four-game road trip on Wednesday when they return to Toronto to take on the Toronto Raptors.