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News » Hot Magic run past woeful Washington

Hot Magic run past woeful Washington

Hot Magic run past woeful Washington
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- You never know which one of these trendy Orlando Magic teams is going to show up.

In its last-second victory in Philadelphia Wednesday night, it was what has been at times a scary Magic team. That one starts strong but lets its opponent creep back into the game in third quarter.

In Thursday night's 105-90 dismantling of Washington, it was a less heart-stopping version -- a more efficient, door-shutting and coach-friendly team that Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy would like to see more often.

"To be the fifth game in seven nights, I thought it was a great effort," Van Gundy said of the win that was Orlando's sixth straight on the road and capped a 2-0 holiday swing away from Amway Arena. "We played with good energy and good focus on both ends of the floor. And other than a six-minute lull in the second quarter I thought it was and outstanding game."

Van Gundy also had a lot of praise for backup point guard Anthony Johnson, who clocked another 37 minutes while racking up 12 assists and seven points.

A night after having to grind out his usual double-double on the free-throw line at Philadelphia, Magic centerpiece Dwight Howard got back to his overpowering self against Washington.

He scored early and easily on his way to 26 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks with a combination of dunks, buckets around the paint and an equally strong night at the charity stripe -- connecting on 10-of-14 attempts.

Howard led four players in double figures, with Hedo Turkoglu adding 20 and 10 rebounds and Rashard Lewis and Mickael Pietrus chipping in 17 apiece.

"Coach stayed on us the whole day about being consistent and coming out with great effort tonight and I think all of came out and did that," Howard said.

As a team the Magic (12-4) outpointed the Wizards (2-11) in the paint 44-34. Meanwhile Turkoglu helped take some of the pressure off of Johnson handling the ball, which helped with ball movement.

Howard also stayed out of foul trouble for the second straight night, not picking up his first personal until 2:10 left in the first half, which helped get easy shots for his teammates as he passed out of the post.

The Wizards, who stayed close early, got 25 points from Caron Butler and 17 more from Antawn Jamison, who also grabbed 12 rebounds.

They threatened early in the third quarter but quickly found themselves down 20 for most of the second half as the Southeast Division's cellar dwellers couldn't avoid their 11th loss of the season and first under interim Coach Ed Tapscott.

The Magic led 55-44 at halftime thanks to 17 points and 13 rebounds from Howard, who at one point was outscoring the Wizards 13-11 by himself. But they also had to fend off a few Wizards' runs along the way.

After pacing Washington's attack in the opening 12 minutes with 13 points mostly on Orlando's Pietrus, Butler cooled off some in the second quarter with only six as the Wizards were able to get as close as four points a few times, but never got over the hump.

The first time came when Darius Songaila came off the bench at the beginning of the quarter to ignite to a 9-0 Wizards run that was capped by a Butler layup to make it 38-34.

Orlando called a timeout and refocused as Turkoglu took over the defensive matchup with Butler.

"We are where we are," Turkoglu said. "We've had injury problems and everything but we're fighting through it to get to where we want to end up. It's been a tough road, but it's part of the job."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 29, 2008


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