Magic Cast Spell On Wizards

Debra Lafave, accused of having sex with a 14-year-old middle school student, and her attorney John Fitzgibbons listen during a hearing before Circuit Court Judge Hale Stancil in Ocala, Fla., Wednesday, March 8, 2006.
AP/Ocala Star-Banner, B.Ackerman

Offseason shuffling aside, the rag-tag Orlando Magic still has enough firepower to make the Washington Wizards shake their heads in disbelief.

John Amaechi scored 12 of his career-high 14 points in the fourth quarter and the Magic's bench full of castoffs outplayed Washington's reserves as Orlando beat the Wizards 107-104 Saturday night.

Amaechi dominated an 11-4 run over a 2:40 span that erased a 76-74 Washington lead and helped Orlando to its sixth win in eight games against the Wizards. Since 1992-93, the Magic lead the series 22-8.

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Game Summary

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  • "We depend on each other and we have to keep helping each other out," said Darrell Armstrong, who led the Magic with 20 points and 11 assists. "Most people aren't giving us a chance. They still aren't giving us credit."

    Tariq Abdul-Wahad added 14 points and eight rebounds for Orlando, which had lost two of three.

    Juwan Howard had 22 points and Rod Strickland added 18 points and 13 assists for the Wizards, who have lost two straight.

    "This team has to learn how to win. This team has to learn how to play a competitive game," first-year Wizards coach Gar Heard said. "We have to suffer until then."

    It was the first game of the season between the teams that swapped six players and a draft choice in two offseason deals.

    Isaac Austin came to the Wizards in a five-player trade, but only Ben Wallace remains with the Magic. Orlando dealt rookie swingman Laron Profit to Washington for a draft pick in September.

    After the Wizards had closed to 85-83 on a layup by Aaron Williams with 4:13 left, Orlando went up 91-83 on a 3-pointer by Armstrong and a three-point play by Matt Harpring, who had 16 points.

    Chris Whitney, who had 17 points, hit two 3-pointers for Washington in the final minute, but the Wizards fell short.

    Reserves Amaechi, Harpring, Monty Williams and Chucky Atkins, who had 10 points, helped the Magic's bench outscore the Wizards' 60-42.

    "We don't know who we are yet," first-year Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "What we try to do is rely on who is hot."

    The Wizards built a 20-10 lead on the strength of a 17-4 run featuring six points from Strickland. Orlando tied the game twice in the second quarter but never led and Bo Outlaw's free throw with 10 seconds left cut Washington's lead to 42-41 at halftime.

    "When we got up by 10, we started doing things we normally shouldn't be doing," Heard said. "We started quick-shooting the ball. That's not us."

    Monty Williams had 10 third-quarter points for the Magic, who diffused Washington's up-tempo game and took a 69-65 lead with 2.4 seconds left. Whitney hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the third quarter to trim the lead to one point.

    Notes

  • Forward Lorenzo Williams, who has played only 33 games in three-plus seasons in Washington, may practice Monday, his first action since undergoing surgery on his right knee on Sept. 13.
  • Ten of the 11 Magic players who played in the first half scored; only Wallace did not. Wallace got his first points against his former team with a baseline slam with 7:45 left in the third quarter.
  • Harpring, who was 0-for-8 from 3-point range, had two.
  • Orlando rookie Corey Maggette stepped on a ball during pregame warmups, twisted his left ankle and did not play.

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