Orlando at Washington

Howard gets career-high seven assists as Magic drop lowly Wizards

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- As the regular season winds down, the Orlando Magic will be keeping a close eye on the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

Here's something else they're going to monitor: Dwight Howard's technical foul count.

Howard had 18 points, 13 rebounds, a career-high seven assists and five blocks in Orlando's 112-103 victory over the worst-in-the East Washington Wizards on Friday, and he also collected his 13th tech this season.

Three more, he knows, and he'll have to sit out.

"Well, sometimes during the game, the superheroes tend to lose their focus, and I kind of lost mine tonight, got a tech," Howard said, "but I tried to re-gather myself and finish the game."

His ire was fueled by three goaltending calls in a 2½-minute span of the fourth quarter, and he wondered aloud afterward if some legitimate blocks were taken away from his total.

"You've got to credit the refs for messing up my triple-double tonight," Howard said with a laugh. "It was so close. Dang the refs. Nah, I love those guys."

He and Stan Van Gundy also were bothered by a charging call against Howard, with the Magic coach wandering onto the court to sarcastically applaud and laugh in an official's direction.

Perhaps what really irked the pair was the Magic were barely beating the woeful Wizards.

"I was not happy with our defense," Van Gundy said. "I didn't think we even came into the game with much focus defensively."

Indeed, Antawn Jamison scored a season-high 36 points for the Wizards, and second-year guard Nick Young added 20.

Young even drove by Howard along the baseline once en route to a thunderous slam. Not much later, Young tried to beat the big guy to the rim again on a reverse dunk, only to have Howard swat that one away.

"After he blocked the second one, he told me, 'I let you get the first one.' I was like, 'Thanks,"' Young said.

Orlando's depth was more than undermanned Washington could handle, and the Magic used a 13-6 run down the stretch for their sixth victory in seven games.

This one did not come as easily as one might have thought. Consider: The Magic already clinched a playoff spot and entered the day leading the Southeast Division by 10½ games. The Wizards, meanwhile, are now 15-51 and 0-14 against the division.

Plus, the Magic had won each of the teams' three previous meetings this season, by an average score of 100-84.

But Young's jumper with a little under seven minutes left got Washington within one. And it was still only a two-point game, the Magic up 99-97, with 3½ minutes to go, before Rashard Lewis' 3-pointer gave the visitors a bit of a cushion.

Lewis finished with 19 points, and Mickael Pietrus had 21 points and 11 rebounds.

As if the Wizards didn't already have enough problems -- what with Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson sidelined by injuries -- two-time All-Star Caron Butler sat out the second half with a tight hamstring. And reserve forward Andray Blatche left in the second half with a bum ankle.

"Nothing is really surprising me anymore, as far as guys getting hurt and not being able to play," Jamison said.

Butler, who missed three games earlier this month because of that muscle, had five points on 1-for-7 shooting. He said afterward he wasn't sure whether he'll be able to play in Washington's next game, on Sunday against Sacramento.

Even without him, even though they trailed by as many as 14 points, the Wizards wouldn't go quietly.

About 4½ minutes after his technical, Howard was whistled for charging into JaVale McGee, a call that left Howard shaking his head and brought Van Gundy onto the court.

"He's got a lot of technicals, so he's got to watch it," Van Gundy said. "We don't want to lose him for a game."

Notes

  • There were plenty of jeers for Orlando's J.J. Redick, who went to Maryland's ACC rival Duke. "I expected boos tonight, and sure enough they came. Early. Often. It's fun. Sometimes things amaze me," he said afterward, then told of one particular fan near the Orlando sideline who kept repeating a particular taunt. "First of all, it's probably the 9,000th time I've heard that. But I'm sitting there, and I'm thinking, 'This guy's probably a Maryland fan, and they're barely going to make the tournament, and the Wizards aren't having a good year, and that's the best you can come up with?"'
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Dwight Howard makes 6 of 9 shots and also comes up with a career-best seven assists. (Getty Images)
Dwight Howard makes 6 of 9 shots and also comes up with a career-best seven assists. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Orlando (48-17) «30302131112
Washington (15-51) 25272328103
ORL:M. Pietrus 21 Pts
ORL:D. Howard 13 Reb
ORL:D. Howard 7 Ast
WAS:A. Jamison 36 Pts
WAS:D. McGuire 7 Reb
WAS:J. Crittenton 7 Ast
Players of the Game
WashingtonOrlando

A. Jamison

M. Pietrus
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
366221116
Orlando
D. Howard, C426-96-12137418
M. Pietrus, SF408-140-2116221
R. Lewis, SF376-134-462419
R. Alston, PG286-115-632218
C. Lee, SG232-100-03125
T. Battie, PF256-81-170113
J. Redick, SG213-62-241110
A. Johnson, PG203-80-01506
M. Gortat, PF41-10-01032
T. Lue, PGDid Not Play
H. Turkoglu, SFDid Not Play
J. Nelson, PGDid Not Play
J. Richardson, SFDid Not Play
Totals 41-8018-27492419112
 51.2%66.7% 
Washington
D. McGuire, PF433-84-472210
A. Jamison, PF4013-226-662336
M. James, PG201-50-00223
C. Butler, SF191-73-41205
D. Songaila, PF192-30-01134
N. Young, SG348-153-354520
J. Crittenton, PG294-112-457110
J. McGee, C203-40-04026
A. Blatche, SF154-51-12139
O. Pecherov, C10-00-01000
D. Stevenson, SGDid Not Play
E. Thomas, CDid Not Play
G. Arenas, PGDid Not Play
B. Haywood, CDid Not Play
J. Dixon, SGDid Not Play
Totals 39-8019-22322121103
 48.8%86.4% 
Other Games
Chi 101 Final
Phi 104
Det 99 Final
Tor 95
Hou 91 Final
Char 86
Ind 87 Final
Atl 101
Mem 92 Final
Bos 102
NY 102 Final
Min 94
NO 95 Final
Mil 86
NJ 100 Final
Port 109
Cle 126 Final
Sac 123
Dal 110 Final
GS 119