ORLANDO — The Wizards were at a distinct disadvantage Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic, playing not only the five opponents in white pinstriped jerseys, but the officials as well. The Magic went to the line 39 times to the Wizards’ nine and still managed to keep the game close, losing 109-103 at Amway Center.
“It’s hard to win a game 39 free throws to nine, let alone be in a game,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “I told our guys, ‘We can’t stop playing as hard as we do.’
“We got nine guys on their rookie contracts. Right now, they’re, not getting the respect. That will come. We keep playing as hard as we play night in and night out, we’ll eventually get calls, but tonight, that’s hard to overcome against a big team like Orlando.”
The Wizards outplayed the Magic in almost every other category. They outshot the Magic 45.7 to 45.2; they out-rebounded them 45-37; got more assists 26-18; and shot better from 3-point range, hitting 12-of-23, to the Magic’s 13-of-30. In the end, the difference was the free throws, as the Wizards connected on seven and the Magic on 30.
Several members of the bench squad had season-high performances to keep the game close, including Shelvin Mack and Kevin Seraphin.
“Our bench was huge,” Wittman said. “The first half was huge. We got off to a slow start, and they came in and they were big. They got us right back in the game at halftime, so we got great production from our bench. I was proud of them. I was proud of everybody.”
Shelvin Mack scored a career-high 12 points, and filled in ably for John Wall, who tied his career low with two on 1 of 12 shooting.
“It’s helping me out a lot — pretty much I know I’m set to come in at the end of the first quarter, beginning of the second quarter, so it kind of gives me a stable thing knowing when I’m going to get in,” Mack said. “I’m always ready for the opportunity. It just shows that he [Wittman] has confidence in me to get out there and run the team.”
But Wall was especially hard on himself after the game.
“I’m disgusted at myself,” Wall said. “I missed a lot of easy shots. Couldn’t find a rhythm. I just tried to find everybody and push the ball. I was getting frustrated, not making any shots and helping my team out.”
Kevin Seraphin also scored 12, tying his career high of which he’s reached 13 times in his career. Nick Young led the way with 24 points, while Rashard Lewis also had a big night with 20 points, his season high.
“We’ve been playing together, and we’ve been playing hard,” Lewis said. “Obviously, we had a loss tonight, but I thought we did a lot of positives. Made some mistakes, got to learn from those mistakes, but we had a lot of positives.”