Turkoglu, Nelson Lift Magic Past Wizards
Orlando 91, Washington 83
ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 23 (Ticker) -- Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson negated Steve Francis' injury and carried the Orlando Magic to a much-needed home win.
Turkoglu scored a season-high 23 points and Nelson collected a season-high 15 and five assists off the bench as the Magic posted a 91-83 triumph over the sliding Washington Wizards.
"Everyone's trying to be more aggressive when you're without a player the caliber of Steve Francis," Nelson said. "Everyone's got to step up their game up."
"He's (Francis) a big part of our team," Turkoglu said. "He's one of our leaders. The guys that took his place did a great job."
The Magic scored the game's first nine points and never looked back in a game they never trailed. Turkoglu hit a 3-pointer during the early surge and finished 3-of-4 from behind the arc.
"Hedo had a great night shooting the ball," Orlando coach Brian Hill said. "I thought Keyon (Dooling) and Jameer Nelson did an excellent job controlling the tempo of the game offensively."
Losers of five straight, the Wizards rallied to tie it later in the opening quarter, but allowed the Magic to take a nine-point lead at the end of the period and never got closer than four points the rest of the way.
Antawn Jamison, who collected 25 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, had a layup that made it 78-72 with 4:20 remaining. Orlando responded with a 9-4 burst that was capped by Nelson's layup at the 1:53 mark that opened an 11-point bulge.
"We have to distribute the scoring and play as a unit," Jamison said. "When we play as a unit, we're pretty good. When we play as individuals, we're going to struggle."
Jamison again gave his team a chance with a 3-pointer to get Washington within 87-83 at the 50-second mark. But Nelson connected on a jumper and Turkoglu hit a pair of free throws to seal the win.
"Guys played well down the stretch," said Magic guard Keyon Dooling, who started in place of the injured Francis and collected 11 points and five assists. "Jameer made some great shots and Turkoglu had probably his best game of the season. We rebounded the ball well at the end of the game and closed them out."
Washington's Gilbert Arenas collected 19 points and nine assists, but made just 6-of-19 shots, including 1-of-5 from downtown.
"Right now we're just not getting it done as a team," Arenas said. "They came out scorching. They got out to a big start and from there we just had to fight back."