Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy made a rare, late-season change in his playing rotation Tuesday evening when he elevated midseason pickup Ish Smith to backup point guard. Smith took over Chris Duhon's job Monday against the Detroit Pistons evening as a result of Orlando suspending Duhon for one game for detrimental conduct, but Van Gundy kept Smith in that role for Tuesday's loss against the Washington Wizards despite Duhon's availability.
"Ish, he played well," Van Gundy said prior to tipoff of Tuesday's game, according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. "We're giving him a chance to play."
In his debut as Jameer Nelson's top backup, Smith shot 3-of-7 from the field for six points to go with seven assists and just one turnover in 19 minutes. As Orlando Pinstriped Post noted in its recap of Monday's victory, the Magic shot 18-of-33 from the field and committed a mere two turnovers with Smith at the helm of their offense.
Smith logged 16 minutes against Washington on Tuesday and stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, five boards, three assists, a blocked shot, and one turnover. Orlando fell to Washington for the first time since February 2010 by a 93-85 final. Please check OPP later for Mike From Illinois' game recap.
Orlando signed Smith in February after the Golden State Warriors waived the former Wake Forest Demon Deacon, making room for him on its roster by cutting veteran combo guard Larry Hughes, who failed to impress in his brief turn as the Magic's third-stringer.