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Crawford, Wizards break eight-game skid, defeat Magic

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Associated Press
12/28/2012 9:44:32 PM
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WASHINGTON -- Fans chanted "R-G-3!" when Nene was at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, sort of the new equivalent of "M-V-P!" in a city obsessed with Washington Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III.

If it helps the Washington Wizards win, they'll take it -- because it doesn't happen very often.

Jordan Crawford scored 27 points, Nene added season highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds, and the worst-in-the-NBA Wizards showed they can still come out on top every once in a while, breaking an eight-game skid Friday night with a 105-97 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Washington overcame another horrible start -- trailing 25-8 in the first quarter -- and won by its largest margin of the season. The game represented one-quarter of the win total for the 4-23 Wizards, who have been stymied in part by the knee injury that has kept franchise player John Wall on the sidelines.

"Obviously, a lot of satisfaction in the win, but the way we won it -- with what this team's gone through at the start of the year, to go down 25-8, ... for our guys to not put their heads down and grind it out," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We kept saying every timeout: 'Long game. Long game. Next timeout let's make it closer.' And they did."

Wittman was so excited he could hardly wait to get on the plane for Saturday's road game against the Chicago Bulls, who haven't played since Wednesday.

"They're going to be rusty. That's good for us," Wittman said. "We've got to win. We're feeling good. We played well. Let's play again. I don't worry about Chicago."

Crawford's point total tied the high for any Washington player this season, but he was more ho-hum than his coach. He spoke about the game as if it were a routine trip to the gym, repeating the phrase "making shots" several times when asked how the victory came about.

"I mean, we're supposed to win," Crawford said. "We've got good players."

Still, it was the first Wizards home win since Dec. 4, when Griffin sat in the front row and cheered on an upset of the Miami Heat while serenaded with the now-familiar "R-G-3!" No, he wasn't at Friday's game, but the chant was.

"I guess we'll have 'R-G-3' whenever we win," Wizards guard Bradley Beal said.

Arron Afflalo scored 26 points and J.J. Redick added 23 for the Magic, who have lost four straight since Glen Davis sprained his left shoulder in the final minute of a win over these same Wizards last week. The Magic ended an NBA-best 12-game streak of holding opponents under 100 points, while Washington hit the century mark for the first time in 12 games.

"Every team in the NBA is capable of scoring," Redick said, "if you don't play D."

Early on, the sound of "Three points -- Jameer Nelson" came from the public address announcer as if on a continuous loop. Nelson made a trio of 3-pointers in less than a minute, and the Magic built a 17-point lead less than 7 minutes into the game.

"Fool's gold," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We relaxed a little bit."

Crawford and Garrett Temple, who was signed earlier this week, came off the bench to dominate the second quarter. The Wizards led 54-51 at halftime and never trailed again.

"Garrett (doesn't) know half of what we're doing," Wittman said. "I'm throwing him out there to the wolves, and I couldn't be more proud of him."

NOTES: Orlando G E'Twaun Moore sprained his left elbow in the first quarter and did not return. ... Nelson went 1 for 9 over the final three quarters and finished with 16 points. ... Magic F Hedo Turkoglu, out since breaking his left hand in the season opener, made the trip and took part in the morning shootaround but did not suit up for the game. ... The Magic were called for a rare six-men-on-the-court technical in the third quarter. "It's Christmastime, and my wife spent a lot of money," Vaughn said. "I'm going to refrain from what I really want to say about that six-person foul. ... There should be 10 men on the floor, and I sent two guys to the table to check in and one they did not let in. I'll keep it that way."

Jordan Crawford (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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