Orlando, Fla,-- In the final minute of their game against the Magic, the Wizards found a way to score 5 points in 7 seconds. It was harder for the Wizards to get to the free throw line. To end a four-game losing streak the Magic made 23 more free throws than the Wizards to pull away for a 109-103 win,
The Wizards had a slightly better shooting percentage than the Magic, 45.7 to 45.2 percent, and outrebounded them 44-37. The Wizards also enjoyed advantages in those hustle numbers like fast-break points and second-chance points. From the free throw line the Magic was 30 of 39, while the Wizards were only 7 of 9.
Its hard to win a game 39 free throws to 9, let alone be in a game, said Wizards head coach Randy Wittman. I told our guys we cant stop playing as hard as we do. We have nine guys on our rookie contract and they are not getting the respect. That will come. We keep playing as hard as way we play, we eventually will get calls.
On the season Dwight Howard is a 46 percent free throw shooter, but against the Wizards he made 11 of 16 free throws to help him to 21 points and 18 rebounds. Ryan Anderson continued his breakout season to lead the Magic with 23 points. J.J. Reddick added 21 points and with Chris Duhon formed a Duke starting back court. Duhon replaced Jameer Nelson out with concussion-like symptoms.
When Howard threw down a slam-dunk over JaVale McGee midway through the third quarter to give the Magic an 87-77 lead, it looked like the Wizards competitive night was about to go in to a fast fade. Instead Nick Young, saddled much of the night with foul trouble, scored 20 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter to help will the Wizards back in the game.
Down 101-92 with 54 seconds left, Young hit a three-pointer from the corner. Then John Wall was able to steal the inbounds pass. Young missed a layup, but Trevor Booker was there for a reverse lay-up to make it a four-point game with 47 seconds left. A couple of late turnovers tripped up the Wizards fight.
The Wizards had a chance to win this one because of their bench. Trailing 25-14 late in the first quarter, Shelvin Mack replaced Wall and proceeded to guide the Wizards on 22-5 run to grab a 36-30 lead with 7:01 to go in the second quarter. Mack finished with 12 points and was helped by fellow reserved Jordan Crawford, with 19 points and 6 assists, and Kevin Seraphin with 12 points and 7 rebounds.
The play of Mack and the bench made up for Walls difficult night. Wall did not score until the fourth quarter and finished with only 2 points on 1 of 12 shooting from the field.. Still Wall was on the floor as the Wizards made their late run and he did contribute 10 assists against only 3 turnovers. Wall also had 7 rebounds.
He stayed in the game and fought through it, Wittman said of Wall. You are going to go through some tough periods shooting the ball. You have to then rely on other things. He had 10 assists and kicked out for some big threes late in transition.