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Magic-Wizards Preview

AP - Sports

It's unclear if Dwight Howard will return Tuesday night for the Orlando Magic. His production against the Washington Wizards would be sorely missed.

Howard has some eye-popping numbers against the Wizards, but it appears doubtful he will play as the visiting Magic try for their 10th straight win in this series.

The superstar center missed his third game in two weeks Monday due to back spasms, but Orlando (34-23) cruised 119-89 at home over Detroit. Howard will travel to Washington, but is listed as doubtful.

His absence would be good news for the lowly Wizards (13-44). Howard is averaging 24.3 points and 13.4 rebounds while shooting 73.4 percent during Orlando's nine-game winning streak over Washington.

While Howard sat out Monday, forwards Ryan Anderson (ankle) and Quentin Richardson (sore back) returned from absences for the Magic. Anderson, who had missed the three previous games, finished with 14 points.

"I think obviously missing Dwight is a big piece and it just makes us have to play that much harder to get those hustle points and get those rebounds,'' Anderson said. "I think we did that...We know how good of a team we are and we've gone through a lot as a group. I think ultimately guys, everybody's playing hard...We're just really having each other's backs and working hard for each other.''

Glen Davis started in Howard's place and had 16 points and 16 boards.

"I feel like I'm more frantic when I'm out there for 20 minutes, it's like 'you got to do something,''' Davis said. "But when you're out there longer you get a rhythm, you get a flow and that's just my role right now. But when it changes, I'll just go out for 20 minutes and try to do the best I can.''

Orlando has won two straight since a season-high five-game slide. The Magic are tied with Atlanta for fifth in the Eastern Conference, one game behind Indiana.

"There are going to be ups and downs with nine games to go. But I like the level we've played at the last two games and hopefully it will continue,'' coach Stan Van Gundy said.

The Magic also played Monday without backup point guard Chris Duhon, who was suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team.

Orlando has made 36 3-pointers in three victories over Washington this season. The Wizards have shot 41.1 percent in those defeats, with John Wall connecting at 37.7 percent but managing to average 16.3 points.

Anderson is Orlando's leading scorer in the season series with 23.0 points per game, making 13 of 24 3-pointers.

Washington ended a five-game losing streak with Monday's 113-85 rout at league-worst Charlotte. James Singleton and Cartier Martin, both working under 10-day contracts after playing in China earlier in the season, combined for 37 points and 18 rebounds.

"Maybe we shouldn't even have practice with the way those two guys played tonight,'' coach Randy Wittman joked.

Jordan Crawford led the Wizards with 20 points in 21 minutes. Rookie Jan Vesely had his first double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Wall had 12 assists.

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