Magic 112, Wizards 95
The difference between the Orlando Magic and the Washington Wizards tonight: Orlando could control the game without its second-best player, Grant Hill, while Washington could barely control three consecutive possessions with its full complement of talent.
The Magic's efficient execution and accuracy from three-point range -- it made 10 of 20 from beyond the arc -- set up a 112-95 victory over the Wizards before a capacity crowd of 17,283 at TD Waterhouse Centre.
Washington's struggles were nothing new, as it seems to play disjointed basketball any time it faces a mid-to-upper echelon team these days. It was the fourth loss in five games and the 15th time the Wizards (13-17) have lost to a team with a winning record.
"They got into a great rhythm and they just picked us apart early," Wizards Coach Doug Collins said about Orlando's seven unanswered points to start the game. "They broke us down off the dribble, they hit threes, they laid the ball in the basket. . . . They got 30 points off threes, 24 points off  turnovers and had 31 assists. They did, basically, whatever they wanted to do offensively."
The Wizards, who have lost in Orlando 12 of their past 13 games, shot a respectable 49 percent with Michael Jordan registering team highs in points (21), rebounds (8) and assists (9).
The Magic paid tribute to him with a video salute at halftime and in the game's waning seconds, when Doc Rivers called a timeout so Washington's players could actually watch the footage. Ironically, all of the highlights showed Jordan from his days with the Chicago Bulls, a team that gave the Magic more than its share of problems, unlike the Wizards.
The Magic, which led the entire game, moved the ball with such precision that only a handful of its shots, including layups, were contested. Magic guard Tracy McGrady scored a game-high 32 points, forward Mike Miller added 20 and backup forward Pat Garrity, who has feasted on the Wizards over the past few seasons, added 21. The trio combined for all 10 of the team's three-pointers, with Miller and Garrity making four apiece.
"They're a great shooting team and once any of their point guards penetrates, we have to help and that leaves their shooters open," Wizards forward Kwame Brown (eight points, two blocked shots) said. "They got guys who can shoot from the point guard to power forward spot."
The Wizards had numerous opportunities to get back in the game in the third quarter but went into the final period down 85-74.
Washington committed five turnovers in the third but still managed to trim its game-long deficit to single digits on several occasions. Yet every time the Wizards got close, they did something that allowed the Magic to distance itself. After pulling to 74-67 on Larry Hughes's three-pointer, Stackhouse fouled Darrell Armstrong on a three-point attempt and Armstrong made all three free throws to extend Orlando's lead to 10.
"The most important thing is you try to disrupt their rhythm early and we were not able to do that," Jordan said. "We were fighting ourselves back in the game but it's so easy to get out of tempo with this team. They like to get out in transition and when you turn the ball over and take quick shots that leads right into their transition."
Shortly thereafter, Hughes made two free throws to bring the Wizards to 77-71, the closest they had been since 40-34 in the second quarter. Miller made an open three-pointer then Garrity followed with another three-pointer after taking an inbounds pass and getting off a shot before any Washington player seemed to know the ball was in play.
"We were within six and Miller and Garrity hit back-to-back threes and that was sort of the end of our hanging around," Collins said. "After that we were on our heels the rest of the way."
Orlando had six three-pointers in the first half to Washington's one, an advantage that propelled it to a 58-49 lead at the break. The point total tied the most yielded by the Wizards in the first half this season.