The Washington Times - February 1, 2012, 12:46PM

ORLANDO — Rashard Lewis plays the role of the ultimate professional when he has to face a team he never wanted to leave - the Orlando Magic. Several of Lewis’ close friends, including point guard Jameer Nelson, still play for the Magic, and the player Lewis was traded for - Gilbert Arenas - was amnestied by the Magic the second the ink was dry on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

Lewis is focused on helping his current team, the Wizards, as best he can, but it’s hard not to notice that his former team is becoming a bit of a circus, particularly with the ever-changing trade requests of All-Star center Dwight Howard. 

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That, and a couple of embarrassing losses by a clearly distracted team, just might give the Wizards a chance to grab another road victory.

“It’s a bit different this time around,” Lewis said of the upcoming game. The last time the Wizards were in Orlando, the Magic blew them off the court with a 103-85 win back on Jan. 4.

“We’ve been playing a lot better. We’ve been playing hard on both ends of the court. I’m looking forward to going out there and playing them because of the fact that I know we’ve been playing well for the past week, week and a half, and I know we’re going to play well regardless of whether we win or lose.”

“They’ve been struggling lately, but I played on that team when we struggled at times, but [Magic coach] Stan Van Gundy’s always found a way to get us to bounce back, and I’m sure the’ll be looking at this game as a bounce back game. 

“I’m sure they’ll be looking to come out and play hard.” The Magic (12-9) have lost four in a row heading into Wednesday night’s game with the Wizards (4-17).