New Lineup Doesn’t Help Wiz Win
WASHINGTON (AP) Ryan Anderson has heard his coach’s message loud and clear. JaVale McGee can’t say the same.
Having been told by coach Stan Van Gundy to be more active when the other team misses a shot, Anderson grabbed a season-high 10 defensive rebounds Wednesday night, part of his 23-point, 15-rebound effort in the Orlando Magic’s 102-95 win over the lineup-shuffling Washington Wizards.
“Stan likes the way I get offensive rebounds and have that kind of energy on the offensive side,” Anderson said. “I haven’t been rebounding the ball defensively as well as I can. Tonight was a good opportunity for me to control that.”
The Magic outrebounded the Wizards 48-36 and made 15 of 36 3-point attempts on a night when Dwight Howard was bottled up inside. Orlando blew a 17-point first-quarter lead and committed 18 turnovers, but seven players scored in double figures in a game not decided until the final few minutes.
“That’s what we do – we can really stretch the court and obviously when we have Dwight get double-teamed and attract so much attention, that really leaves us open,” said Anderson, who made 4 of 10 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the fourth quarter. “And we did a great job of taking advantage of that.”
Howard was 4 for 9 from the field and 6 for 11 from the free-throw line, yet he still managed to convert three three-point plays and finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and four turnovers.
The Magic, bouncing back from a five-point loss to Atlanta that prompted a quick players-only meeting before the All-Star break, have won 11 of 15.
John Wall had another workhorse night, scoring 33 points to lead the Wizards, but he’s about the only thing reliable on a team that dropped its sixth in a row despite rallying from a large deficit for the second straight night.
Washington was down 22 at Milwaukee on Tuesday and lost by one, so coach Randy Wittman stuck with the lineup that helped spur that comeback, starting Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin in place of McGee and Nick Young.
It was Seraphin’s first start of the season and second of his career, and it reinforced Wittman’s message that he was no longer going to accept youth as a reason for undisciplined play.
Wittman said he spoke to McGee and Young before the game, telling them: “Hey, I got to get you guys playing back the way I know you can.”
“How long that will take,” Wittman added, “I don’t know.”
McGee played a season-low 16 minutes and scored nine points. Young played 19 minutes, his lowest since the season opener, and scored five points before leaving in the fourth quarter with a bruised right knee.
Young left the locker room without addressing his benching. McGee, asked if he understood Wittman’s message, responded: “I can’t say I do, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out sooner or later.”
It was Wall and Crawford who got the Wizards back in the game.
Crawford had 14 points and four assists in the third quarter as Washington built a five-point lead, but an 11-0 run with 3-pointers from J.J. Redick, Anderson and Chris Duhon put the Magic back in front.
Wall soon scored 10 straight Wizards points, then had the assist on a 3-pointer from Maurice Evans that tied the game at 83 with 6:57 to play.
But Jameer Nelson made a 3 to give Orlando the lead again. Then Jason Richardson made a steal to set up another 3-pointer, this time from Anderson, to put the Magic up by six.
“We were up big and thought we had it in the bag,” Richardson said. “If you want to be great, you’ve got to learn how to bury teams when you’ve got them down.”
Notes: Washington F Andray Blatche, out since Jan. 28 with a strained left calf, hopes to return to practice Thursday and possibly play Saturday against Cleveland. “Even with all the bad things going on, I don’t care about it. I just want to go back to playing, man,” Blatche said before the game. “It’s tough when you’re sitting at home watching. Saturday will feel like Christmas to me. … Hopefully I can get back to being Seven-Day `Dray or something.” … Orlando reserve F Quentin Richardson sat out after straining his left Achilles tendon in the final game before the All-Star break. He’ll also miss Thursday’s game vs. Oklahoma City. “He’s day-to-Saturday,” Van Gundy said. … The Wizards’ 21-for-21 performance at the free-throw line Tuesday set a franchise record for most attempts without a miss. They made their first five Wednesday before finally missing one. … Wall had his left pinky wrapped after the game, having hurt it during the West Coast road trip before the All-Star break. “It’s still dislocated and swollen, so I just get it taped and ice it after every game,” he said.
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP