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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP)–Jordan Crawford scored 27 points and the worst-in-the-NBA Washington Wizards showed they can still win a game every once in a while, breaking an eight-game losing streak Friday night with a 105-97 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Nene added season highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds and shot fourth-quarter free throws while hearing chants of “R-G-3!” — the new equivalent of “M-V-P!” in a city where Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is the new superstar — as Washington won by its largest margin of the season.
The game represented one-quarter of the win total for the 4-23 Wizards, who have been stymied in part by the knee injury that has kept franchise player John Wall on the sidelines. Crawford’s point total tied the high for any Washington player this season.
Arron Afflalo scored 26 points and J.J. Redick added 23 for the Magic, who have lost four straight since Glen Davis sprained his left shoulder in the final minute of a win over these same Wizards last week. The Magic ended an NBA-best 12-game streak of holding opponents under 100 points, while Washington hit the century mark for the first time in 12 games.
Early on, the sound of “Three points — Jameer Nelson” came from the public address announcer as if on a continuous loop. Nelson made three in less than a minute, and the Magic went 5 for 5 from 3-point range to build a 25-8 lead less than seven minutes into the game.
But the Wizards this season have perfected the pattern of digging a big hole early and then making a game of it. Crawford and Garrett Temple came off the bench to dominate the second quarter. The rally was already well under way when Crawford fed Bradley Beal for an alley-oop dunk, and Crawford and Temple hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Wizards the lead.
Crawford’s fadeaway jumper put Washington ahead 54-51 at the half and gave him 14 points in the second quarter.
Crawford hit another 3, and Shelvin Mack chipped in four points during a 12-0 run that gave Washington a 78-63 lead late in the third. A 3-pointer by Redick pulled the Magic to 80-72 to end the period, and Afflalo’s jumper made it a three-point game early in the fourth.
But the Wizards were able to close out a game for a change. Nene, Crawford, Kevin Seraphin and Martell Webster all hit big shots down the stretch. By contrast, Orlando’s Nelson, who couldn’t miss early, was 1 for 9 over the final three quarters and finished with 16 points.
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Following the win, Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman was very happy with the play of Garrett Temple, who was called up from the NBADL six days ago, and had a great game shutting down Jameer Nelson after the first quarter.
“I thought Garrett [Temple] was huge.”
Nelson only managed two points the rest of the game after going off for 14 in the first quarter.
“I told Shelvin [Mack} he must of drank some hot juice, he wasn't missing in the first quarter," Temple said on Nelson. "We tried to get in him a little more. That's what I came here to do, be a defender and help lead the team."
Jordan Crawford summed up the night in two words on what worked "making shots".
Listen here to what Randy Wittman, Jordan Crawford, Garrett Temple, Bradley Beal & Kevin Seraphin had to say following the win.
Randy Wittman Postgame Audio
Jordan Crawford Postgame Audio
Garrett Temple Postgame Audio
Bradley Beal Postgame Audio
Kevin Seraphin Postgame Audio