Two nights after falling to the worst team in the West, the Orlando Magic dropped a 105-97 decision to the Washington Wizards, who had lost eight straight games and own the league's worst overall record. Orlando lost starting power forward Glen Davis in a victory over Washington on December 19th and has lost each of its four games since, including Friday's rematch.
The Magic fell apart despite building a 17-point lead in the game's opening six-plus minutes. A fading bank shot by Jameer Nelson pushed Orlando's lead to 17 at the 5:33 mark of the first quarter and gave Nelson 14 points on the night; the veteran point guard would finish with 16 points, and none after halftime.
The Wizards fought their way back into the game on the strength of their bench, which Jordan Crawford led. The third-year guard would finish with a game-high 27 points, and he made an immediate impact in his first stint as Washington chipped nine points off the Magic's lead during that span.
Bench production proved to be one of the differences between the two teams on Friday: Crawford, Kevin Séraphin, and Garrett Temple would combine for all 57 of Washington's bench points, offsetting weak offensive performances by Shelvin Mack, Emeka Okafor, and Martell Webster.
Another key difference was that Washington controlled the interior. The Wizards controlled the offensive boards and outscored Orlando, 17-8, on second-chance points. Séraphin and Nenê gave Washington paint points, while Crawford drew defensive attention away from them on the perimeter.
Orlando couldn't get anything going inside, relying almost exclusively on Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick. The pair combined for 49 points on reasonable efficiency, but none of Orlando's players helped offensively, and especially not inside. Magic coach Jacque Vaughn used all of his healthy players in multiple combinations, even using undrafted rookie swingman DeQuan Jones at power forward against Okafor at one third-quarter juncture.