Magic 103, Wizards 85
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)
The Orlando Magic looked like a team in need of pillows and a bedtime story when they trudged their way through a lopsided loss to Detroit earlier this week that snapped a four-game winning streak.
A day off went a long way for the Magic.
Orlando recovered its pep in a 103-85 win over the Washington Wizards Wednesday night.
Orlando won for the fifth time in six games and had four players in double figures. It has won seven straight against Washington and 15 of the last 18 meetings.
The Wizards got 17 points from Nick Young, but shot poorly all night and trailed by as many as 28 in falling to 0-6 for the first time in franchise history. They remain only team in the NBA without a victory.
The Magic had a four-game winning streak snapped Monday at Detroit in a lethargic effort that coach Stan Van Gundy said was virtually void of any energy from a team playing its sixth game in nine days.
Orlando was off Tuesday and appeared to have its energy back against the Wizards, sprinting out to as much as a 22-point lead in the opening 24 minutes and taking an 18-point cushion into halftime.
''We came out and played better than we had against Detroit,'' Howard said. ''It was good to see us bounce back.''
Anderson said starting faster was a definite point of emphasis against a Washington team with several young players.
Hitting shots didn't hurt either as the Magic hovered above 50 percent for most of the game and connected on eight of their 19 shots from the 3-point line. Orlando also dished out 27 assists as a team and held a 54-44 rebounding edge over a much bigger Wizards' lineup.
Magic shooting guard Jason Richardson, who came into Wednesday just two for his last 13 from the field, scored the game's first five points. He finished just 3 for 8, but said he likes the way his shot felt compared to the past two games.
''We play a lot of games, but that's no excuse for not coming out with energy and ready to play,'' Richardson said. ''I see myself on film not bringing energy and I'm an energy player. So I gotta do a better job of doing it every game.''
The Wizards struggled to get shots to fall from the outset, settling for jumpers and missing their first 12 field-goal attempts. They also gave up 31 points in the first quarter, the third time this season they allowed an opponent to score at least 30 in a period.
The Magic made 61 percent (11 for 18) of their shots in the first quarter. Howard was 4 for 4.
Meanwhile, Washington shot a paltry 21 percent (6 for 28) in a 14-point first quarter and finished the night at just 36 percent (34 for 93)
Wizards coach Flip Saunders said ejecting some sort of life into the offense early is a must if they are going to post their first victory anytime soon. Their next chance is Friday when they begin a three-game home stand against New York.
''We're gonna have to do something with our start,'' Saunders said. ''Whether its personnel wise or whatever. But somehow we've got to have some juice to start games.''
Point guard John Wall wouldn't go as far as calling it a pattern, and said there isn't one thing that would be a quick fix from his perspective.
''It's everything,'' he said. ''We go over everything on defense in the shootaround, but we didn't do it out there. You see what happened to us. Once everybody started being selfish on offense, (and) then on the defensive end we're not trusting each other.''
Richardson said he feels like the Magic are finding an early groove and it's just in time as they prepare to host a speedy Chicago team Friday that is off to a 6-1 start.
''I think we're gelling really good,'' he said. ''We made some mistakes and I think we're doing a good job just playing through those and just playing hard. We still got some gelling to do, but we're gonna keep playing hard.''
NOTES: Wizards F Rashard Lewis, traded by the Magic for Gilbert Arenas last season, received an ovation from Orlando fans during player introductions in his first game against the Magic since the trade. Lewis sat out when the Wizards played at Amway Center last February because of tendinitis in his knee. Van Gundy said he doesn't think Lewis is given enough praise for his role in helping the Magic go from a 40-win season in 2006-07 to the NBA finals in 2009. ''In that turnaround, when he came in, a lot of it revolved around him,'' Van Gundy said. ''Clearly Dwight was still the best player. Jameer played very well, Turk played very well. But those guys were here. What changed was Rashard Lewis,'' Van Gundy said. ''He's been given credit, but I don't think he's still gotten nearly enough credit for what he did.'' ... Van Gundy also said that he shoulders most of the blame for Arenas, who Orlando amnestied in the preseason, not making a more meaningful contribution after being traded from the Wizards for Lewis. ''You ask a guy who had been an All-Star and one of the big scorers in the league to come off the bench - a tough role,'' Van Gundy said. ''If anything, if people are unhappy with the way Gilbert performed here, I think you've got to lay that on me and the role I gave him.''