Arroyo Makes Case to Be Magic Starter

The Associated Press
Monday, November 6, 2006; 11:01 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Carlos Arroyo has been so productive as the sixth man for the Orlando Magic that a promotion to the starting lineup might not be far off.

Arroyo scored 23 points, 12 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Magic to a 106-103 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night.

The Magic's backup point guard had four assists and no turnovers in relief of starter Jameer Nelson, who struggled with his ballhandling for the fourth straight game. Nelson had five turnovers against the Wizards, giving him 19 in four games this season.

"Carlos is playing like a starter," teammate Grant Hill said. "He's making plays for himself and for his teammates. He's doing a great job running the show."

Arroyo was 9-for-9 from the field and had three assists on Sunday against Atlanta.

"I don't worry about my role, I just want to do what I can to help the team," he said. "When you come off the bench, you have to be ready to go. If not, you'll come out pretty quick."

Keyon Dooling, Orlando's other reserve guard, added 15 points and Hedo Turkoglu had 18 for the Magic, who had lost two in a row.

Arroyo and fellow reserves Dooling and Keith Bogans combined for 18 of the Magic's 25 points in the fourth quarter when Washington forced Orlando to go to a smaller lineup.

Antawn Jamison had 29 points, Gilbert Arenas added 24 and Etan Thomas had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Wizards.

Jamison's layup with 4:08 to play gave Washington a 99-96 lead, its last of the game. It also was Washington's last field goal.

The Magic responded with nine straight points, seven by Arroyo, to go ahead 105-99. Arroyo hit a 3-pointer, was fouled on a drive to the basket and made both free throws, then finished off the run with a 15-footer that put the Magic up by six with 2:10 left.

"The Magic have a nice luxury with those guys they bring off the bench," Jamison said. "If their starters aren't having a good night, their bench guys come in and push the tempo like they did against us tonight. They made it difficult on us."

Washington got two free throws apiece from Antonio Daniels and Arenas to cut the deficit to 105-103 with 1:21 to play, but Jamison, Caron Butler and Thomas all missed shots in the final minute that could have tied the game.

Bogans rebounded Thomas' miss and was fouled with 3.4 seconds left. He hit one free throw, giving Washington one last shot at sending the game to overtime.

Arenas took it, but his 3-pointer attempt from two steps behind the arc was short.

"Our bench was huge tonight, but that's the way we're going to have to play to be successful," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "We're going to have to find eight or nine guys who can make significant contributions for us to keep winning games."

Notes:@ Turkoglu, who was 0-4 on 3-pointers in a loss at Atlanta on Sunday, hit his first four attempts against Washington. He missed his last four. ... Wizards G DeShawn Stevenson started 82 games for the Magic last season. ... The Magic had 68 turnovers in their first three games with C Dwight Howard having 15 and G Jameer Nelson 14. ... Arenas, Jamison and Butler were the highest scoring trio in the NBA last season, averaging 67.4 points a game. They are averaging 70.2 points after three games this season.

© 2006 The Associated Press