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Orlando loses to happy .500 team
Published February 7, 2006
WASHINGTON - After weeks of downplaying the quest for .500, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan turned it into a rallying cry at the start of the fourth quarter.
"We've been waiting for two months for this quarter," Jordan told his team.
It worked. The Wizards beat the Magic 94-82 Monday night to hit the break-even mark for the first time in two months.
Antawn Jamison had compared the laborious quest to the movie Groundhog Day - "because we keep finding ourselves one game below .500."
"It shows a lot about the character of this team, as far as sticking to it and not giving up or people upstairs trying to disassemble this team," Jamison said.
Gilbert Arenas had 23 points and eight assists, and Jamison had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards, who took the lead early in the first quarter and didn't trail again.
Orlando was good fodder for the occasion. Steve Francis (five points) and Hedo Turkoglu (four) scored season lows. DeShawn Stevenson scored 20, Dwight Howard had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Keyon Dooling scored 16 for the Magic, which has lost five of six.
HEAT 114, CELTICS 98: Dwyane Wade had 34 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to lead host Miami, which led 77-74 with 1:13 left in the third quarter before going on a 22-6 run over the next seven minutes. Shaquille O'Neal, who scored 21, capped the run with a three-point play with 5:53 left.
BOBCATS 119, SONICS 106: Raymond Felton scored 24 and Melvin Ely added 23, both career highs, for host Charlotte, which has consecutive wins for the first time since Dec.27-28. The Bobcats, who snapped their record 13-game losing streak Friday against the Lakers, dominated Seattle and led by 25 in the second half.
CAVALIERS 89, BUCKS 86: LeBron James scored 22, including a go-ahead layup in the final seconds, for host Cleveland. Milwaukee's T.J. Ford hit an 11-footer for an 86-85 lead with 30.4 seconds left, but James answered by driving past Bobby Simmons for a layup and an 87-86 advantage with 18.1 seconds left.
NETS 99, HORNETS 91: Richard Jefferson scored 26 and Vince Carter added 21 to help New Jersey to its 11th straight home win. Jefferson had four points and Jason Kidd and Carter hit 3-pointers in a 21-4 spurt in the fourth quarter that erased a 71-68 deficit.
ROCKETS 87, 76ERS 81: Yao Ming had 27 and 13 rebounds for visiting Houston, which held Philadelphia without a field goal for more than 15 minutes in the second half. In that stretch, the 76ers missed 14 shots but hit 18 free throws to stay in the game.
TIMBERWOLVES 103, SUNS 101: Kevin Garnett blocked Shawn Marion's short jumper at the buzzer to preserve victory for visiting Minnesota. The Suns complained vehemently that it was goaltending, but to no avail. Garnett scored Minnesota's last five points to finish with 19.
TRAIL BLAZERS: The team settled its pay dispute with Qyntel Woods over his suspension for animal abuse. Woods was suspended in 2004 during an investigation into allegations about pit bull and dog fighting.
SAMPSON PLEA: Former Rockets star Ralph Sampson pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied about his finances to obtain court-appointed counsel in a federal child support case. Sampson, 45, was indicted last month in Richmond, Va., on one count each of perjury and making a false claim.