Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/28/12
WASHINGTON -- Recently after yet another loss, Randy Wittman cracked about desiring an in-game ejection and his inability to pull it off. No chance the Wizards coach had such thoughts over the final three quarters against Orlando. Jordan Crawford scored 27 points and Nene had a season-high 23 points and 11 rebounds as the Washington Wizards snapped their eight-game losing streak by defeating the Orlando Magic 105-97 on Friday night. Owners of the NBA's worst record, Washington had lost 11 of 12 games including five straight at home since upsetting Miami 105-101 on Dec. 4. Kevin Seraphin scored 17 points for the Wizards (4-23). Garrett Temple made his first six shots, scored 13 points and shined defensively in only his second game with Washington. The Wizards fell behind 25-8 midway through the first quarter, but stormed back for a 54-51 halftime lead with Crawford and Temple combining for 29 points on 13 of 16 shooting. Crawford's 3-pointer highlighted a 13-0 third-quarter run as the Wizards opened up a 78-63 lead. Speaking after a rare win, the amped Wittman said, "With what this team has gone through at the start of the year, to go down 25-8. For our guys to not put their heads down, to grind it out. "We kept saying every timeout, 'Long game. Next timeout let's make it closer. Next timeout let'smake it closer.' And they did. That just shows the character of these guys." Arron Afflalo had 26 points and J.J. Redick scored 23 points with five 3-pointers for the Magic (12-17), who responded with a 17-5 run. After Afflalo's jumper trimmed the lead to 83-80 with 8:53 remaining, Nene's layup sparked a 9-0 spurt by the Wizards. Seraphin's layup moved Washington ahead 96-82 with 5:25 left. The Magic pulled within eight points multiple times, but would get no closer. The win over Miami game also marked the last time Washington, the league's lowest scoring team, totaled at least 100 points. "There isn't an excuse for being bad defensively, and we are bad defensively right now and it'ssurprising because we've been good defensively all season," Redick said. Washington looks to win back-to-back games for the first time this season at Chicago on Saturday. Told the Bulls have been off since Tuesday, the now ebullient Wittman responded, "Good, they're going to be rusty. That's good for us. We got to win, we're feeling good. Let's play again. I don't worry about Chicago. I'm going though." While Wittman beamed in victory, Crawford, who came off the bench for a second straight game, maintained his usual postgame cool. Asked separately about the key to victory, why the offense flowed and how the team overcame the rough start, Crawford simply said each time, "making shots." And the confident guard did just that, finishing 11 of 16 with three 3-pointers while Nene made 9 of 10 free throws. Jameer Nelson scored 14 of his 16 points in the first quarter as Orlando scorched the nets. The Magic made their first five 3-point attempts -- four by Nelson -- during the opening six minutes. However, Orlando went cold from beyond the arc while Crawford and Temple heated up. Washington trimmed the lead to 31-25 by quarter's end and pulled ahead for good at 52-51 on Temple's 3-pointer. Signed on Christmas Day along with fellow D-League guard Shelvin Mack, Temple also impressed on the defensive end. "Garrett was huge. ... When a guy got hot, I tended to say 'go guard him,'", Wittman said. "Garrett doesn't know half of what we're doing. I'm throwing him out there to the wolves. I couldn't be more proud." The Magic defeated the Wizards 90-83 in Orlando on Dec. 19 for their fourth straight win. Since then, Orlando has lost four straight, all without Glen Davis. The Magic's second-leading scorer sprained his left shoulder in the final minute in the first meeting with Washington. "For a minute there, we felt like we should win every game, no matter who we were playing," Afflalo said. Orlando had won 10 of the last 11 meetings in the series and nine of the last 11 at Washington. Notes: Both starting centers -- Washington's Emeka Okafor and Orlando's Nikola Vucevic -- grabbed 11 rebounds. ... Wittman brought Crawford off the bench Wednesday against Cleveland for violating a team rule. The Wizards coach said that matter did factor into Friday's lineup. ... John Wall participated in a light team workout for the second straight day, Wittman said. The first pick in the 2010 draft has not played this season due to a stress injury in his right knee. ... Starting in place of Davis for a third straight game, Gustavo Ayon had eight points. ... Hedo Turkoglu, who underwent surgery on Nov. 3 to repair a fractured fifth metacarpal in his left hand, participated in Orlando's pregame shootaround. Magic coach Jacque Vaughn deemed the 12-year veteran day-to-day, barring any setback. ... Orlando opens a four-game homestand Saturday against Toronto.
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