With a playoff berth locked up, Orlando did not play an inspired game against the Eastern Conference’s worst team.
The Magic will likely need a better effort Sunday night when they host a hungry Utah Jazz club.
While Orlando seeks its third win in a row overall and fourth straight at home, the Jazz are trying to close out their road trip on a positive note following back-to-back losses.
The Magic (48-17), who clinched their third straight playoff berth with Wednesday’s 28-point win over Chicago, return to Amway Arena following a 112-103 victory Friday night at Eastern Conference-worst Washington.
Despite the outcome, Orlando wasn’t too pleased with its effort in allowing the Wizards to score well above their 94.8 season average.
“I didn’t think we even came into the game with much focus defensively,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said after recording his 100th win in two seasons with the club.
Dwight Howard had a solid performance on both ends of the court. The league leader in rebounding and blocked shots per game had 13 and five, respectively, against the Wizards, as well as 18 points and a career-best seven assists. Howard, though, picked up his 13th technical of the season while arguing a goaltending call.
League rules state that a player receives a one-game suspension after picking up 16 technical fouls in a season.
“He’s got a lot of technicals, so he’s got to watch it,” said Van Gundy, whose team has won six of seven. “We don’t want to lose him for a game.”
The Magic were without Howard for the first time in his five-year career in their 103-94 win at Utah on Dec. 13. Howard had his string of 351 consecutive games snapped as he sat the first of two games with a sore left knee, but Rashard Lewis scored 27 and Hedo Turkoglu added 22 to lift Orlando.
Howard is averaging 19.6 points and 13.1 rebounds in eight career games versus the Jazz.
Turkoglu is questionable for Sunday after missing the last two games with a left foot injury suffered in Monday’s 98-94 loss at Detroit.
Utah (41-25) won the first two games of its five-game trip, but needs a victory Sunday to salvage a winning record on the swing. The Jazz fell 140-129 in triple overtime at Miami on Saturday afternoon. Heat guard Dwyane Wade scored 50 as the Jazz allowed their most points in a game since a 150-104 loss at Golden State on Jan. 15, 1986 - three seasons before Jerry Sloan became their head coach.
The Jazz went scoreless in the final 2:23 of regulation to let a seven-point lead slip away. Deron Williams missed a 20-foot shot at the buzzer that would have moved Utah into sole possession of the Northwest Division lead, one-half game ahead of Portland. Instead, the Jazz lost their second straight following a 12-game winning streak.
“We did a how-to on how to lose a basketball game, pretty much,” Williams said after posting his 32nd double-double of the season with 30 points and 13 assists.
Williams had 17 points and 11 assists in the December loss to Orlando.
Carlos Boozer missed that game with a strained left quad. He had 20 points and 13 rebounds Saturday versus the Heat.