Still, the Orlando Magic found a way to win.
"As long as I'm aggressive, I know I'm going to get my shots.
But tonight I had to be more aggressive to help the team
scoring-wise," Turkoglu said. "When we get our leaders back, I'll
be back in my role again."
The Wizards lost their fifth straight after a 5-1 start and got
a rare off night from leading scorer Gilbert Arenas, who finished
with 19 points and nine assists but shot 6-of-19. He was averaging
27.5 points and had five 30-point games this season.
"When you're in that slump, you're in the slump. But I'd rather
have it now than in April," Arenas said. "Right now we're not
panicking. It's something every team goes through. You just have to
Already playing without Hill, Orlando also was missing Francis,
its leading scorer, who injured a rib in a car accident after
Saturday's 98-95 loss to New Orleans. DeShawn Stevenson played with
floating cartilage in his left knee sustained in practice Monday,
but managed 15 points.
Stevenson said he definitely will need offseason surgery --
sooner if Orlando falls out of playoff contention.
"I've got to get it cleaned out," he said. "When you get in
the game, you block everything out. Tomorrow morning, when I get
up, I won't be able to walk."
Perhaps most surprising is that the Magic won with little help
from Howard, who came into the game with seven consecutive
double-doubles. He spent most of the game in foul trouble and
finished with five points and seven rebounds.
Antawn Jamison led Washington with 25 points and 16 rebounds,
and brought the Wizards within four points with a 3-pointer from
the corner with 50 seconds left.
But Jameer Nelson answered with a driving layup, putting the
Magic up 89-83 with 31 seconds left.
Nelson hit consecutive 3-pointers, the second from the top of
the key with a second left, on the last two Magic possessions of
the third quarter to push the lead to 10. He finished with a
season-high 15 points.
After a seven-point first half, Stevenson sat out the first part
of the third quarter with an ice pack on his left knee. He didn't
appear affected when he did finally get back in, nailing a
turnaround jumper with about a minute left in the third, and
driving repeatedly to the basket in the fourth.
"I can't just go out there and shoot jumpers. That's not my
game," he said. "I can't get away from my game just because I'm
hurting. That's not me."
Turkoglu also helped keep the Wizards from rallying in the
fourth, making two free throws and hitting a jumper on consecutive
possessions to extend the Magic's lead to 10 points midway through
His off-balance 3-pointer with about 3½ minutes left in the
fourth quarter gave Orlando an 11-point lead.
"If you had told me going into the game, with everybody that
was out, that Dwight would get five points and seven rebounds ... I
wouldn't like our chances. But our guys really stepped up," Magic
coach Brian Hill said.
Washington shot 5-of-20 from 3-point range. ... The Magic
had just one turnover in the fourth quarter after committing 17
through three. ... Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber
attended the game. ... The Wizards activated F Andray Blatche and
placed F Awvee Storey on the inactive list.
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