Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/10

Game 1: Wednesday, November 10th
Game 2: Friday, January 28th
Game 3: Saturday, January 29th
Game 4: Friday, April 1st

Magic 103

(24-19, 9-14 away)

Wizards 97

(26-17, 16-6 home)

    7:00 PM ET, January 29, 2005

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    ORL 20 35 21 27103
    WSH 21 24 27 2597

    Top Performers

    Orl: S. Francis 32 Pts, 9 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl

    WSH: G. Arenas 37 Pts, 8 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl

    Francis puts up 32 points

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Steve Francis hit another big basket in the final minute. The Washington Wizards again missed crucial free throws.

    Similar scripts gave the Orlando Magic a sweep of their back-to-back games against Southeast Division rival Washington, pulling in the reins of a team that had been one of the hottest in the NBA.

    Francis had 32 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in Orlando's 103-97 victory Saturday, following the Magic's 108-101 win in Florida 24 hours earlier.

    "We just got a real good butt-kicking for two days," said Washington coach Eddie Jordan, reflecting on a sour end to his 50th birthday. "Maybe we'll fall under the radar a little bit. It was humble pie."

    Francis did a spin move on Juan Dixon and made an off-balance turnaround 14-footer with 24 seconds left to put the Magic ahead for good, his last shot in a 13-for-26 night. In Friday's game, Francis' big basket came with 44 seconds remaining -- after he had missed his first 11 shots.

    "He is fearless," Orlando coach Johnny Davis said. "When the game is on the line, he wants the ball in his hands more often than not. He did it again for us tonight."

    After Francis' basket, Brendan Haywood had a chance to tie with 19 seconds remaining when he drew a foul in a fight for a rebound, but he badly missed both free throws. The Wizards had made their previous 12 from the line before Haywood's attempts, the first of which was an air ball.

    "The first one slipped. The second one, just wanted to make it too bad," Haywood said. "Missed it. Wished I'd hit them. It would have helped us out. We've just got to keep going. It's the second game in a row that free throws have cost us."

    On Friday night, Gilbert Arenas was 11-for-11 from the line before missing five of his last seven in the final 2:02, a key factor in Orlando's win.

    It wasn't surprising, therefore, to hear Jordan talk about maintaining focus and the "need to concentrate better" following Saturday's game, which featured six lead changes in the final 2½ minutes. The Wizards had been riding high -- winning 11 of 13 before Friday and eight straight at home before Saturday -- before the Magic gave them a reality check.

    "I didn't think we were overconfident," Jordan said. "But if we were, it was good medicine."

    Arenas led the Wizards with 37 points and has scored 30 or more in six of his last seven games. Antawn Jamison had 18 points, and Dixon scored 10 of his 14 in the fourth quarter.

    Grant Hill added 27 points for the Magic, including a free throw that tied the game with 56 seconds remaining. Dwight Howard had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Francis had six of Orlando's 16 turnovers, but he did more than enough to tighten the race between the two teams chasing Miami in the Southeast.

    "I think it's more a bigger game for our team," Francis said, "because this is one of the toughest teams in the East this year, and we're right there trying to chase them and be where they are."

    Game notes

    Both teams wore retro uniforms. The Wizards wore the orange getup from their 1970-71 season, when they were the Baltimore Bullets. The Magic went back just a decade to 1994-95. ... Arenas regained his steady hand at the free throw line, making all 13 attempts. ... Francis and Hill are both local heroes. Hill was a high school star, while Francis went to both high school and college in the area. Francis bought some 200 tickets for family and friends for the game. "I've got to go, my grandmother's waiting," he said at the end of his postgame interview. ... Magic center Kelvin Cato (sinus infection) did not make the trip. ... The game was a sellout, the Wizards' fourth of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 103 97
    FGM-FGA 38-79 (.481) 30-82 (.366)
    3PM-3PA 3-11 (.273) 6-17 (.353)
    FTM-FTA 24-31 (.774) 31-45 (.689)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-48 15-42
    Assists 17 19
    Turnovers 16 14
    Steals 8 11
    Blocks 5 1
    Fast Break Points 17 22
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (1/0) 24 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 11 6

    Top Performers

    Steve Francis Francis
    Points: 32
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Gilbert Arenas Arenas
    Points: 37
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0