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News » Magic-Wizards Preview

Magic-Wizards Preview

Magic-Wizards Preview
It's not uncommon for teams to play with extra motivation and energy in their first game after a coaching change and come away with a victory. The key is to continue playing with that passion and string together more wins.

The Washington Wizards look to build off an impressive victory in Ed Tapscott's coaching debut when they host the red-hot Orlando Magic on Thanksgiving.

Washington (2-10) fired coach Eddie Jordan on Monday and replaced him with director of player development Tapscott. The team responded with a level of enthusiasm and hustle not seen earlier in the season.

The Wizards notched season highs in points and rebounds (54), matched their season high in assists (27) and forced a season-high 20 turnovers in Tuesday's 124-100 win over Golden State.

"We just fed off the energy," said forward Antawn Jamison, who had 25 points and 11 boards. "We knew we had to get this win. It's been a crazy 24 hours, and we just wanted to stop the bleeding."

Washington snapped a five-game losing streak and avoided the worst 12-game start in franchise history. The Wizards, who were outscored by an average of 9.6 points and outrebounded by 9.2 boards during their skid, grabbed 14 more rebounds than the Warriors.

"Guys just rallied around one another, rallied around the new coach and accepted Tap with open arms," said Caron Butler, who scored a season-high 35 points Tuesday.

Washington is 0-9 against Eastern Conference teams, including 0-4 against Southeast Division foes.

The Wizards now try to carry some momentum from their latest win against the Magic, who have won 11 of 13 after dropping their first two games of the season.

Orlando (11-4) is coming off Wednesday's 96-94 win over Philadelphia, as Rashard Lewis hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left.

Prior to Lewis' shot, the Magic were 11-for-34 (32.4 percent) from the field after halftime and had surrendered a 12-point, first-half lead.

"Sometimes you get lucky and we got lucky tonight," said Lewis, who finished with 19 points. "It was most definitely a big win for us."

Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds on Wednesday, and had a season-high 31 points, 16 rebounds and blocked three shots in the Magic's 106-81 win over Washington on Nov. 8.

The Wizards shot just 39.2 percent from the floor in that loss, as Butler finished with 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting and Jamison had a season-low seven points on 3-of-7 from the field.

Orlando has won five of its last six over the Wizards, including the last three meetings at the Verizon Center. Howard, who is averaging 18.5 points and 14.0 boards in six road games this season, is averaging 18.0 points and 12.7 boards in his last three games at Washington.

The Magic, who were tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the second-best road record last season (27-14), have won five straight away from Orlando since losing at Memphis on Oct. 31.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 27, 2008


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