Thursday, March 20, 2008
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Wizards Hold Off Magic 87-86

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[March 20, 2008]  ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Antawn Jamison had 31 points and 11 rebounds and the Washington Wizards shut down Dwight Howard offensively in a 87-86 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

Hedo Turkoglu had a career high with 39 points, but Howard had only three points and 14 rebounds.

Orlando had a chance on an inbound pass with five seconds left, but Turkoglu's driving layup was short and officials didn't call a foul.

Howard sat much of the game in foul trouble, and was frustrated by the Wizards' inside physical presence. The All-Star turned the ball over four times and shot 1-for-6, failing to score from the field until the fourth quarter. He had 10 rebounds before halftime, but picked up his fifth foul with about 9:30 left in the fourth.

Washington trailed most of the first half, but crept out of a seven-point deficit in the third quarter. The team took its first lead since the opening minutes on Jamison's 9-foot hook, and extended it to 57-52 on another of the All-Star's hooks 2 minutes later.

The Wizards kept it until 3:05 left in the fourth quarter, when Keith Bogans put Orlando ahead 81-80 with a 3-pointer. The teams stayed within three the rest of the way.

DeShawn Stevenson, who played 2 1/2 seasons for Orlando, scored 14, while Caron Butler had 11 points and nine rebounds and Brendan Haywood had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Wizards gave Orlando a good chance to win after being called for a shot-clock violation on their last possession. With a one-point lead, Butler took the ball at the top of the key and waited as the clock ticked. When he finally made his move, Howard met him in the lane and swatted Butler's floater.

It set off a scramble for the ball, during which the clock ran out.

Orlando got two chances to inbound with 9.4 seconds left. Turkoglu caught the first, but had the ball knocked out of bounds. The next time, with 5 seconds left, Turkoglu was swarmed by Washington defenders and threw up a prayer that didn't go.

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The game was a possible playoff preview -- the teams would play each other in the first round if the season ended today. Orlando (45-25) has already wrapped up a playoff spot, but Washington (34-33) is in a 10-team heap vying for the final five remaining in the Eastern Conference. Boston and Detroit are also in the postseason for sure, but no Eastern Conference team besides Miami has been mathematically eliminated.

Gilbert Arenas watched in collared shirt and tie on the bench. He increased the intensity of workouts this week after an MRI showed his surgically repaired knee was healed, but still wasn't ready to play.

Notes: Orlando missed 13 field goals in a row from the first quarter to the second, but still had a 28-22 lead when Keyon Dooling broke the streak with a running bank shot. ... Six of Washington's next seven games are on the road. The Wizards had played five straight at home. ... Washington is now 6-0 in Southeast Division road games.

[Associated Press; By TRAVIS REED]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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