Still, the Orlando Magic found a way to win.
“As long as I’m aggressive, I know I’m going to get my shots. But tonight I had to be more aggressive to help the team scoring-wise,” Turkoglu said. “When we get our leaders back, I’ll be back in my role again.”
The Wizards lost their fifth straight after a 5-1 start and got a rare off night from leading scorer Gilbert Arenas, who finished with 19 points and nine assists but shot 6-of-19. He was averaging 27.5 points and had five 30-point games this season.
“When you’re in that slump, you’re in the slump. But I’d rather have it now than in April,” Arenas said. “Right now we’re not panicking. It’s something every team goes through. You just have to bounce back.”
Already playing without Hill, Orlando also was missing Francis, its leading scorer, who injured a rib in a car accident after Saturday’s 98-95 loss to New Orleans. DeShawn Stevenson played with floating cartilage in his left knee sustained in practice Monday, but managed 15 points.
Stevenson said he definitely will need offseason surgery—sooner if Orlando falls out of playoff contention.
“I’ve got to get it cleaned out,” he said. “When you get in the game, you block everything out. Tomorrow morning, when I get up, I won’t be able to walk.”
Perhaps most surprising is that the Magic won with little help from Howard, who came into the game with seven consecutive double-doubles. He spent most of the game in foul trouble and finished with five points and seven rebounds.
Antawn Jamison led Washington with 25 points and 16 rebounds, and brought the Wizards within four points with a 3-pointer from the corner with 50 seconds left.
But Jameer Nelson answered with a driving layup, putting the Magic up 89-83 with 31 seconds left.
Nelson hit consecutive 3-pointers, the second from the top of the key with a second left, on the last two Magic possessions of the third quarter to push the lead to 10. He finished with a season-high 15 points.
After a seven-point first half, Stevenson sat out the first part of the third quarter with an ice pack on his left knee. He didn’t appear affected when he did finally get back in, nailing a turnaround jumper with about a minute left in the third, and driving repeatedly to the basket in the fourth.
“I can’t just go out there and shoot jumpers. That’s not my game,” he said. “I can’t get away from my game just because I’m hurting. That’s not me.”
Turkoglu also helped keep the Wizards from rallying in the fourth, making two free throws and hitting a jumper on consecutive possessions to extend the Magic’s lead to 10 points midway through the period.
His off-balance 3-pointer with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter gave Orlando an 11-point lead.
“If you had told me going into the game, with everybody that was out, that Dwight would get five points and seven rebounds … I wouldn’t like our chances. But our guys really stepped up,” Magic coach Brian Hill said.
Washington shot 5-of-20 from 3-point range. … The Magic had just one turnover in the fourth quarter after committing 17 through three. … Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber attended the game. … The Wizards activated F Andray Blatche and placed F Awvee Storey on the inactive list.