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UPDATED: Washington Wizards 87, Orlando Magic 86

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Hedo Turkoglu of the Orlando Magic shoots over Roger Mason Jr. of the Washington Wizards.
Hedo Turkoglu shoots for 2 of his career-high 39 points on Wednesday night. His performance wasn't enough, as the Magic fell to the Washington Wizards, 87-86.
Photo by Gary W. Green, the Orlando Sentinel

Well, that was ugly.

Despite a career-high 39 points from Hedo Turkoglu, the birthday boy, the Orlando Magic dropped a home game to the Washington Wizards tonight. Taking away Turkoglu's shooting numbers, the Magic shot 15-of-57 (.263) from the field and 7-of-26 (.269) from three-point range. And yet, we still had a chance to win the game at the end. That could be a testament to one of any number of things:

  • The brilliance of Hedo Turkoglu.
  • The brilliance of Washington's defense. (97.7 d-rating)
  • The brilliance of our defense. (98.9 d-rating)
  • How truly awful this game must have been to watch.

I joked in the game preview that we Magic fans would be better off not seeing the game if the Wizards wore their gold alternate uniforms. Well, they did, which was bad enough, but the basketball itself was worse.

If you want to look at the bright side, consider that we weathered uncharacteristically bad shooting night from Rashard Lewis (2-of-13) and one of the worst offensive performances of Dwight Howard's career (3 points, 1-of-6 shooting, 5 fouls, 4 turnovers) and the game still came down to the final possession, when Turkoglu missed an off-balance layup just before the final horn.

I really don't think we can take too much away from this game, though. As Hill2Howard said at MagicMadness, "the Wiz wont catch Orlando in a bad night every night." We'll have a chance to show them up in the final game of the season. By then, the Wizards should be fairly well beat-up, as they have a five-game-in-seven-night road trip out West to finish out March, as well as a game apiece left against Boston and Detroit.

Worth noting:

  • Turk set his previous career high, 37, in a losing effort.
  • The loss tonight ruins our previously perfect record when holding opponents to 95 points or fewer; we were 26-0.
  • For the second straight game, Maurice Evans and Keith Bogans alternated playing entire quarters. Evans played quarters one and three, and Bogans played quarters two and four.
  • Despite the fact that Brian Cook was not in foul trouble, Stan Van Gundy opted to sub Pat Garrity in for Rashard Lewis when Lewis needed his customary third-quarter breather. Including tonight, Cookie Monster has shot 8-of-28 in his past five games.
  • Jameer Nelson finished with 9 assists and just 3 turnovers.
  • If we don't crush Philadelphia on Friday night, I'm going to hit the Panic Button.

Possible open thread tomorrow, if I can come up with a topic. Anyway, check out the salary table I put up in the left sidebar. My life: Where boredom happens.

UPDATE: The open thread concerns the postgame comments from some of the players on both teams last night. Read it here.