Howard dominant as Magic breeze past WizardsNov 9, 2008 - 3:54 AM By Zach Chalifour PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Injuries continue to take their toll on the Washington Wizards, who dropped their fifth straight game of the season at the hands of the Orlando Magic.
Dwight Howard and Mickael Pietrus scored 12 third-quarter points apiece as Orlando captured its fourth straight victory, 106-81, over Washington on Saturday.
Howard finished with 31 points and 16 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season while Pietrus finished with 18 points.
"I think that's the best game I've seen out of Dwight since I've been here, and Pietrus had another great game for us," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said.
"Dwight wasn't only dominant physically, but he was patient, making great passes and not forcing any shots."
The big man even performed well with regard to his most glaring weakness, free-throw shooting.
"We had a couple of lapses in the second half, but played an outstanding game. Even some lucky people made some free throws tonight," said Howard, referring to his 9-of-14 performance from the charity stripe.
The Magic's duo received plenty of help not only from their fellow starters, but from reserves as well.
Orlando's bench, a weak spot for much of the season thus far, excelled in the first half with 23 of the team's 58 points en route to a season-high 35 on the night.
Keith Bogans scored all of his 13 points in the first half while Anthony Johnson and Tony Battie contributed eight points apiece for the Magic.
In addition to the continued absence of Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood, the Wizards were without starting point guard Antonio Daniels, who was scratched with a sprained knee he suffered Friday night against the Chicago Bulls.
Juan Dixon, who started in place of Daniels, was not pleased with his or the team's performance, particularly on the defensive end.
"We need to have better execution," he said. "We are not executing our offense, and the pick-and-roll is killing us on defense. Guys are getting wide open 3-pointers, and they are hitting their shots."
The Wizards, who never led and were overmatched from the opening tip-off, were held to a season-low 81 points. Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison scored just 10 and seven points, respectively.
Nick Young was the only bright spot for the winless Wizards. The reserve guard continued his strong sophomore season, scoring in double figures for the fifth straight game with 20 points in this one.
ORLANDO 106 FINAL
Nov 8 9:23 PM
ORLANDO 84 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 8 8:54 PM
ORLANDO 58 HALFTIME
Nov 8 8:09 PM
ORLANDO 27 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 8 7:35 PM
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