NBA Game Summary - Washington at Orlando
(Friday, April 1st)
Final Score: Washington 111, Orlando 102
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Gilbert Arenas scored a game-high 31 points, including a run-stuffing five straight late in the contest, as Washington continued surging toward the postseason with its fourth straight victory by recording a 111-102 win over Orlando at the TD Waterhouse Centre.
Arenas went 8-of-16 from the floor for Washington, which has won eight of its last 11 games and cleared a hurdle with its first win in seven trips to Orlando. The Wizards have still lost 15 of their past 17 in Orlando with their last victory prior to this game coming on December 21, 2001.
Larry Hughes had 30 points, nine rebounds and a team-high five assists, while Etan Thomas chipped in 10 points and 10 boards in the win.
"We are playing pretty good," Hughes said. "It is a crucial part of the season and we are shooting to win as many games as possible. This is a good start to the month, our first win of the month and we are trying to get eight or nine games in this month."
In regards to the playoff picture, the Wizards moved one game in front of idle Chicago for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Meanwhile, Orlando remained one game behind Philadelphia for the final playoff spot in the East as the 76ers also lost Friday.
Leading Orlando, which had a two-game winning streak snapped, were Steve Francis with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists and rookie Dwight Howard with 22 points and 11 boards.
DeShawn Stevenson collected 19 points, while Grant Hill had 17 in the loss.
The teams played evenly throughout the early stages of the game before Washington used a 9-0 run, capped by an Arenas three-pointer, to open a five- point advantage late in the first quarter, which ended with the Wizards ahead 29-23.
Washington, which outscored Orlando 26-18 in the second quarter, opened a double-digit lead minutes into the frame and led by as many as 21 before heading into halftime ahead, 55-41.
Hughes had 16 points, while Arenas netted 15 in the first half as the Wizards shot 53 percent from the floor, including 5-of-8 from three-point distance.
"I felt like we were down 50 the whole game," Francis said. "I thought in the first half, we just got out hustled. Washington is a good team, you can't take anything away from them."
Washington continued to front run throughout the third quarter, stretching the advantage to 79-54 before ending the frame up 93-69.
Orlando opened the fourth quarter by outscoring the Wizards 23-4, to pull within five points, but Arenas drilled a jumper from the lane and stroked a three-pointer to push the advantage back to double figures and the Magic never really threatened again.
"It wasn't pretty at the end, but it was pretty for three quarters," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "The 'W' is a lot prettier than anything."
Jordan was on the bench Friday after leaving the Wizards last game due to dehydration...Washington guard Anthony Peeler missed yet another contest due to a sore right knee...The Wizards have won three straight road games to improve to 16-21 on the road this season...The Magic finished a five-game homestand with a 2-3 record and fell to 23-13 at TD Waterhouse Centre...Orlando has posted a 3-5 mark since Chris Jent took over for the fired Johnny Davis.
04/01 23:59:29 ET