Magic GameNight: Orlando at Washington (2/4/11)


GameNight Specifics
NBA Coverage: Game Info
Date: Friday, Feb. 4
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Verizon Center (Washington, DC)
Radio: AM 580 WDBO, AM 1270 WRLZ
Television: FS Florida



Jameer Nelson

Jason Richardson

Dwight Howard

Ryan Anderson

Hedo Turkoglu

JJ Redick

Gilbert Arenas
John Wall

Nick Young

JaVale McGee

Andray Blatche

Rashard Lewis

Al Thornton

Yi Jianlian


WASHINGTON (AP) Dwight Howard scored 22 points and had 15 rebounds to lead the Orlando Magic to a 110-92 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday in Gilbert Arenas' return to the Verizon Center.

While the pregame attention was on Arenas, Howard was the star of the game.

A night after playing all 48 minutes in a 104-100 loss to Miami, Howard made his first 10 field goals and didn't miss a shot until 2:20 remained in the third quarter. Howard's two dunks and a long jumper, helped the Magic go on a 9-0 run that gave Orlando a 70-62 lead with 3:01 left in the third.

Howard had help from Ryan Anderson, who had 10 of his 19 points in the first quarter, Jason Richardson with 18 points and J.J. Redick, who had 15 points - 12 in the fourth quarter as the Magic won going away.

In his first Washington appearance since being traded to the Magic for Rashard Lewis on Dec. 18, Arenas had 10 points, six rebounds and six assists.

He checked in with 1:31 to play in the first quarter to a mostly warm reception. In his first 90 seconds, Arenas stole the ball from Nick Young, blocked his shot, grabbed a rebound and turned the ball over. In his eight minutes on the floor in the first half, the Magic performed poorly - outscored by 14 points.

They did much better in his second-half stint - with Arenas passing to Redick and Anderson for 3-pointers.

Washington, which has lost seven straight, and nine of 10, was led by Young and Kirk Hinrich with 17.

Wizards rookie guard John Wall was ejected from the game with 2:26 remaining. He had picked up his first technical earlier in the fourth quarter, and as he walked toward the locker room, he stripped off his jersey and tossed it into the crowd.

Orlando had a hot start as Howard had 10 points and seven rebounds on the way to a 29-15 lead with 2:37 left in the first quarter.

Arenas hasn't started with Orlando, and according to his new coach, Stan Van Gundy, he's been a team player.

"His attitude has been great. He's been working at it hard. He's been a team guy. He came right in and made a sacrifice coming off the bench. I always have respect for guys who are willing to make sacrifices for the good of the team," Van Gundy said.

Van Gundy recognizes that Arenas is still recovering from the multiple surgeries and the 50-game suspension last season for bringing guns to the Verizon Center locker room.

"I think he's still a ways away."

Notes: Washington rookie F Trevor Booker has six blocks. ... Orlando F Brandon Bass missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. ... The Wizards recalled C Hamady Ndiaye from Dakota of the D-League, but he won't play for at least a few weeks. According to coach Flip Saunders, Ndiaye recently hurt his knee and he'll be better able to get treatment in Washington.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – This Gilbert Arenas, one who was gritty and engaged defensively and attacking from his opening ovation until the final horn, was one the Orlando Magic hadn’t necessarily seen over the past six weeks.

But Arenas being sparked by his return to Washington, the city where he played for seven-plus seasons before being traded to Orlando in December, was a welcomed sight for a Magic team searching for energy and playmaking a night after losing a home heartbreaker against Miami.

Arenas was surprisingly cheered by the same fans who once jeered him and he responded with 10 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and a blocked shot as the Magic pulled away late in a 110-92 defeat of the Wizards at Washington’s Verizon Center.

``It was great. They recognized that one bad year can’t cover seven good years that I was here for,’’ Arenas said of the ovation that he received. ``I was playing defense against somebody (Washington’s Nick Young) that I taught every move in the book to, so that made it pretty easy. I just wanted to come out and help us get a win after we had a rough one last night. We’re trying to position ourselves before the all-star break.’’

Despite not getting to Washington until almost 4 a.m. Friday morning following Thursday’s 104-100 loss to Miami, the Magic (32-19) had enough energy left to outscore Washington (13-36) 59-43 in the second half to breeze to the victory. The Magic made seven of nine 3-point shots in the fourth quarter and got big performances from Dwight Howard and Arenas throughout to gut out a victory.

``To come back on a quick turnaround and play the way that we did in the second half really says a lot about our team,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``I didn’t look out there and ever think we had great energy during the game. But what we did have was great resolve and commitment to get the job done.’’

A night after playing all 48 minutes against Miami, Howard made his first 10 shots and had 22 points and 15 rebounds in 32 minutes. But all eyes were on Arenas, who was traded to Orlando six weeks ago following a tumultuous ending to what had been a dazzling career in Washington. Arenas once again didn’t shoot the ball well, but it was his willingness to battle defensively against Young impressed the Magic. Young, who came into the game averaging 17.3 points per game, made just seven of 20 shots and was whistled for a frustration technical foul in the fourth quarter.

``I got in Nick’s head all the way back to last week,’’ Arenas said of his well-in-advance trash talk. ``He never scores on me. He already knew what was going to happen. I didn’t really do anything different than what I always did in practice against him. He never scored in practice, so I knew he wasn’t going to score in the game. They were trying to get him involved to break that spell that I have over him, but not this time.’’

Here’s a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from Friday night’s bounce-back win in Washington: