The Orlando Magic couldn’t complete their season sweep of the Washington Wizards, instead losing to the Wizards for the first time in their last 10 meetings. The Magic held an 11-point lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Wizards owned the second and fourth quarters, eventually winning the game 93-85.
Jameer Nelson had 19 points and seven assists to lead the Magic while Kevin Seraphin had a game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards.
Orlando’s effort shouldn’t be questioned – that’s not why they lost the game. Tired legs and the absence of Dwight Howard were the major reasons. Orlando looked tired and a bit “slow” as Stan Van Gundy put it after the game. Orlando simply couldn’t make shots – they shot 36.6% from the field (34-of-94), made just 11 of their 35 three-point attempts (11-of-35), only attempted 10 free throws and posted an effective field goal percentage of 42.5%.
Of course, we can’t completely take the blame away from the Magic. They were still defeated by a team with just 14 wins and there were several defensive lapses, including a wide-open dagger three-pointer by Jordan Crawford that pushed Washington’s lead to eight with 1:21 to play.
- The Magic were beat up by Kevin Seraphin on both ends of the court. Seraphin did an excellent job defending Orlando when they screened on pick-and-rolls and clearly was a forced on offense, scoring 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting. He also pulled down 13 rebounds and blocked three shots.
- Backup James Singleton also hurt the Magic, going for 12 points and eight rebounds.
- Although Glen Davis was solid at times, he recent string of outstanding play ended. Not only did he struggle to defend the Wizards’ bigs, but he scored just 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
- Jameer Nelson looked like he thought it was going to be on him to get the Magic a victory and although he made some big plays, for the most part, the shots wouldn’t fall. Nelson scored 19 points, but it took him 19 shots to do it.
- After going 7-of-10 from the field Monday, Jason Richardson was awful Tuesday, hitting just four of his 16 attempts from the field. Ryan Anderson was right there with him, going 2-of-10 from the field.
- Ish Smith got the backup point guards and did a pretty good job. He did an excellent job of getting into the lane and continued to show off his quickness. Smith had eight points (on 4-of-8 shooting), grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists.
- Quentin Richardson gave the Magic some firepower off of the bench, putting up 14 points on eight shots and hit a couple of second half three-pointers that kept the Magic in striking distance.
Next Up: The Magic will host the Atlanta Hawks Friday night.
Final Thought: The Magic were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, on the road without Dwight Howard, so despite playing an inferior team, this game shouldn’t give Magic fans much to worry about.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: Andray Blatche, Chris Duhon, Chris Singleton, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jan Vesely, Jason Richardson, John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Larry Hughes, Maurice Evans, Nene, Nick Young, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Von Wafer, Washington Wizards