The Washington Times - January 6, 2009, 10:57PM

So it happened again. Orlando now improves to 51-28 all-time against Washington and 31-9 at home when the Wizards pay them a visit.



The Magic gave the Wizards their chances, they committed 15 turnovers, which led to 13 Washington points. They let the Wizards outscore them in the paint 34-24 — a rarity that the Wizards outscore ANYBODY in the paint. They even let the Wizards outdo them 11-10 in second-chance points. And the Magic was handily outscored 33-24 by the Wizards in the third quarter.


Had it not been for the franchise-worst six-point second quarter by the Wizards, this game could have been very different and the Wizards would be 8-25 as they prepared to head into an eight-game stretch against teams with losing records. Instead, all there is to salvage from this game is moral victories.


Ed Tapscott said he’ll decide tomorrow weather or not Andray Blatche returns to the starting lineup. Ed stuck to the “team matter” line, but it’s safe to assume that team matter involves Sunday’s outburst from Blatche, where late in the game, Tap pulled him and Andray threw a tantrum, yelling at the coach for the decision, and teammates had to tell the fourth-year big man, who has done nothing to deserve being able to argue for more playing time, to shut up. When asked if that was the reason for Blatche’s benching, Ed smiled, took a deep breath and said “It is a team matter.” You can read between the lines.


If Dray doesn’t go, who does? That’s a question worth asking because Darius Songaila got the start, but went down late in the first quarter after taking one of Dwight Howard’s mighty elbows to his throat. Darius came back and played, scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds, but after the game couldn’t speak, still in pain from the blow.


JaVale McGee and Oleksiy Pecherov were the only two players who didn’t play tonight. It’s odd with JaVale, but it’s like things have gone in reverse of the way you’d think. You would imagine him being brought along slowly, but now with the Wizards so far out of it now would be the time to play him. And Pesh? They picked up the option for him for next season, but he’s of no value right now.


DeShawn Stevenson again was out, but will be getting a shot to see if it can help his back.