- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Howard detonates Wizards’ bubble
Welcome back to reality.
Two nights after responding to the firing of coach Eddie Jordan with an authoritative win over the Golden State Warriors, the Washington Wizards reverted back to their old ways of an unbalanced offensive attack, poor shooting and soft defense in a 105-90 loss to the visiting Orlando Magic on Thursday.
Just an hour before the game, coach Ed Tapscott warned that there was a chance a different Wizards squad would come out Thursday night because the emotion associated with Jordan’s dismissal had died off.
“Can we come out with focus and intensity when maybe the emotional pitch will be a little different?” Tapscott said. “Tonight will be more like a regular NBA game. … This will be our first step to what the season’s like.”
If that’s true, then the outlook for the rest of the way is not good.
Tapscott’s Wizards managed just two double-digit scorers, shot 42 percent from the field. They allowed four Magic players to score in double digits, gave up 44 points in the paint, got outscored 17-8 on second-chance points and committed 13 turnovers. They also shot 17.6 percent from 3-point range.
Caron Butler led Washington (2-11) with 25 points, and Antawn Jamison added 17 points and 12 rebounds. The rest of the Wizards’ starters combined for just 14 points.
Orlando (12-4) was without starting point guard Jameer Nelson (hip flexor) and sixth man Keith Bogans (fractured thumb). But it made no difference, because Dwight Howard dominated the Wizards for 26 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
It didn’t matter who Tapscott threw at the 6-foot-11, 265-pound Howard, who went 10-for-14 from the free throw line. The result was the same as centers JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, Etan Thomas and Darius Songaila couldn’t avoid foul trouble while trying to guard the powerful Howard. Blatche, who finished with five points and five rebounds, fouled out. McGee finished with five fouls, and Thomas and Songaila had three apiece.
And Orlando got the usual solid performances from Howard’s sidekicks Hedo Turkoglu (20 points), Rashard Lewis (17) and Mickael Pietrus (17).
“We knew this is a pretty good team. They’ve won six straight games on the road. They’re a load,” Tapscott said. “They have a good rhythm now, they’re playing well and Dwight Howard is a force in the middle. His physicality got to us and we got into foul trouble early.”
Putting an end to what had been a positive trend of strong starts the last three games, the Wizards struggled in the first quarter, falling behind 10-7 in the first 2 1/2 minutes of play. They had no answer for Howard, who scored six of his team’s first 10 points, and went on to grab nine rebounds in the first nine minutes of the game.
“They ran just about anything they wanted to,” Jamison said. “To me, it’s embarrassing when they’re shooting free throws and they’re letting you know what play they’re running. They’re calling out their plays - ‘We’re running this’ - and loud. I told our guys it’s embarrassing for them to not even try to hide it. We’ve got to find a way to play with some pride because night in and night out, teams right now can just defend us.”
Orlando led 31-15 with 2:32 left in the first before the Wizards managed a strong finish. Butler scored eight consecutive points as the quarter came to a close, and the momentum carried over into the second. The Wizards went on a 9-0 run in the first two minutes of that quarter thanks to consecutive jumpers from Darius Songaila, a three-point play from Antonio Daniels and a fade-away from Butler that pulled his team within 38-34 and forced a Magic timeout.
Orlando slowly but steadily re-established a double-digit lead down the stretch of the quarter, however, and led 55-44 at halftime.
About the Author
- Wizards respond on practice court
- Saunders flips out about Wizards' defense
- Saunders fumes as Wizards regress
- Wizards close out 2009 with another loss
- Late breakdown costs Wizards in Memphis
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow