Magic drop fourth straight with loss to Wizards

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Orlando Magic had a chance to snap a three-game losing streak and regain the Southeast Division lead all at once.

Instead they got hammered by one of the worst road teams in the conference -- and the best team in the division.

Gilbert Arenas scored 30 points and Antawn Jamison had 31 points and a season-high 16 rebounds to lift Washington over the Magic 114-93 Friday, widening the Wizards' new division lead to 1½ games.

"We wanted to come out and show we have been in the playoffs the last two years and we can be the dominant team out here," Arenas said.

The Magic haven't made the playoffs in three years, and looked like it in the second half. After playing to a 45-all halftime tie, the Wizards outscored Orlando 69-48 in the last two quarters.

Arenas and Caron Butler led Washington on a 13-4 run with a combined nine points that gave the Wizards an 81-71 lead with 1:11 left in the period. The lead had changed 23 times by that point, but wouldn't tip again.

"I think we should be embarrassed by the way we played in the second half," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "I think we were totally outworked and outhustled in every aspect of the game, every player on the floor."

Grant Hill led Orlando with 24 points, while Dwight Howard had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Jameer Nelson added 15 points and seven assists. Hill also dislocated his pinky after getting it caught on a jersey while trying to block DeShawn Stevenson's shot, but the club said the injury wasn't serious.

Washington extended its lead to 17 with six minutes in the game, and responded each time Orlando scrapped up some momentum. Arenas effectively ended Orlando's last hope by sneaking backdoor for a wide open layup after a monstrous Howard dunk for the Magic.

Again, turnovers doomed Orlando. Averaging an NBA-worst 17 giveaways a game, the Magic coughed it up 19 times for 29 Washington points, while the Wizards had just seven turnovers.

Arenas also added seven rebounds and six assists.

The teams' two previous matchups this season were decided by a total of four points, with each winning one. They'll meet once more in April at Washington.

"They usually give us problems here," Butler said. "We wanted to come out and get this win. It meant a lot to us."

Arenas, the league's second-leading scorer at 29.9 points a game, had an off night in the Wizard's win Wednesday, scoring 16 points. It was just the sixth time this season he's scored fewer than 20. He is averaging almost 39 points in the game following those six sub-20 efforts.

"Gilbert had a terrific floor game," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "Outside of being a scorer, he really defended well, passed ahead to the guys who were out sprinting, and that was our main theme tonight -- let's get out and sprint and push and dictate the tempo."

Hill announced before the game that little-used guard Travis Diener would back up Nelson instead of Carlos Arroyo. Arroyo had become a fan favorite, started four games with Nelson out, and gave the Magic a steady, pass-first hand at the point. He scored 23 in Orlando's win over Washington earlier this season, but struggled lately. He was averaging three points his last five games.

Diener often didn't suit up, and appeared in just 13 games for the Magic before Friday. He finished with no points on 0-for-3 shooting and no assists against Washington.

Game notes
The Wizards had lost four in a row at Orlando, and won just four games on the road against the Magic since their inaugural 1989-90 season. ... The Magic didn't have a point from their reserves until Keyon Dooling made a layup with 1:17 in the first half. ... Washington went the entire first half without shooting a free throw, then shot 12 in the first six minutes of the third quarter. They finished with 25.


ESPN Fan Shop Powered By

  • adidas Youth Washington Wizards John Wall #2 Road Red Replica JerseyShop

  • adidas Youth Orlando Magic Victor Oladipo #5 Alternate Black Replica JerseyShop

NBA News