Howard helps Magic bounce Wizards

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ORLANDO, Fla. | Three days removed from a big win over the Los Angeles Lakers, it would have been understandable if the Orlando Magic’s guard was down a bit against the lowly Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

The Wizards had no such luck.

Dwight Howard had 32 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, and the Magic ran past the Wizards 101-76.

The Magic won their second straight game and head into the All-Star break winners of four of their last five. They are 10-1 in their last 11 games against teams with records below .500.

Jason Richardson added 16 points and Ryan Anderson chipped in 14 for Orlando, which led by as many as 27 points.

“We got (Dwight) the ball tonight,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I’m consciously trying to after timeouts make sure we’re running stuff for him (and) I really didn’t do that tonight. He’s just been so effective.”

John Wall scored 27 points and Andray Blatche had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards, who showed very little of the spark they used this past Sunday to break a 25-game road losing streak against Cleveland. They have now lost six of their last seven games and haven’t won two consecutive since mid-January.

They played the game without leading scorer Nick Young, who was inactive with a sore left knee.

Orlando blew the game open with a 20-4 run to start the third quarter that gave it a 68-43 lead at the 7:07 mark. Howard had 15 points in the period, including several uncontested dunks and layups as the Wizards fell into a familiar routine of poor shot selection and lackluster defense.

“We had to get ourselves going,” Magic guard Jameer Nelson said. “I mean, human nature kicked in a little bit. Guys knew it was All-Star break. That’s no excuse for it…We were able to get it going and come out with a victory the last three quarter we played.”

Over a 17-minute stretch from the 6:30 mark of the second quarter until 1:34 remained in the third, the Magic outscored the Wizards 50-20.

“We were outmanned,” Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. “Not having Nick hurt a lot. I thought we played really hard the first half, but couldn’t make a shot. It was one of those things, the harder we tried the harder we fell. It was like being in quicksand.”

When the Wizards don’t make shots, they usually find themselves in deep holes very quickly. That pattern rang true against the Magic, who hassled Orlando into 29-of-83 shooting from the field (34 percent). They also had 15 turnovers that led to 19 Orlando points.

“We reverted back to our old selves,” Blatche said. “(The) ‘I’m going to be the guy who’s going to get us over the hump’ instead of “we.”

The Magic led 48-39 at the half, outscoring the Wizards 31-21 in the second quarter.

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