Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/5

Game 1: Saturday, November 5th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 23rd
Game 3: Wednesday, January 18th
Game 4: Monday, February 6th

Wizards 98

(17-20, 7-12 away)

Magic 106

(14-22, 10-9 home)

7:00 PM ET, January 18, 2006

Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

1 2 3 4 T
WSH 27 24 18 2998
ORL 23 21 29 33106

Top Performers

WSH: A. Jamison 30 Pts, 12 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

Orl: J. Nelson 22 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

Francis scores 12 off bench as Magic beat Wizards

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Steve Francis was back and well-behaved.

Francis had 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in his first game back from a two-game suspension to lead the Orlando Magic over the Washington Wizards 106-98 on Wednesday night.

The guard was suspended by the team for refusing to re-enter a blowout game late in the fourth quarter. He came off the bench against the Wizards for the third time in his six-year NBA career.

"That's something that's way out of my control," Francis said of his reserve role. "So I just have to do what I can do when I come in."

He entered with 4:01 left in the first quarter to a mixed reaction from the crowd. Two minutes later, his no-look, behind-the-back pass on a fast break for a Hedo Turkoglu dunk put the crowd back on his side.

"After a week of not playing, just shooting by myself, it was good to get out on the court with my teammates and play well," Francis said.

Francis was scoring a team-high 18 points a game at the end of 2005, but hit a wall in January. In his last six games, he was averaging 11.5 points on 37.5 percent shooting, with 25 assists and 30 turnovers.

In the meantime, point guard Jameer Nelson has emerged as a budding star. He has led Orlando in scoring four of the last five games, including 22 points, five assists and five rebounds on Wednesday night.

"Give me 24 hours at least to savor this one," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "We just had a bad road trip. I want to relax a little bit and have a cocktail and then we'll talk about the starting lineup some other day."

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the short-handed Magic and a four-game winning streak for Washington.

"We said it in pre-game that even though they've been down and we've been doing pretty good, the way they are now is how we were at one point," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "Just one win gets it going and we were very aware that they could get it going."

Antawn Jamison had 30 points and 12 rebounds, giving him more than 10,000 career total points. Gilbert Arenas scored 21 on 5-of-20 shooting, while Caron Butler added 18 for Washington.

Trailing 51-44 at halftime, the Magic used a 10-2 run to take the lead and pull away in the third quarter. They shot 63 percent from the field in the period, while Washington hit just 27 percent from the floor.

"Everything just swung," Arenas said. "We had all the momentum in the first half, then it shifted and they had all the momentum in the second half."

Orlando grabbed an early lead, but watched it slip away as Jamison had 11 points in the first quarter.

DeShawn Stevenson had 19 points and Tony Battie had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic.

Caron Butler scored 18 and Antonio Daniels had 17 points and six assists off the bench for Washington.

Reserve center Kelvin Cato scored 10 points in the second quarter to keep Orlando competitive despite nine first-half turnovers, but left the game with 23.3 seconds left in the half with a sprained right ankle and did not return.

The Magic played without Grant Hill, who'll be out at least another week because of continued abdominal pain. Hill has now missed six of the last eight games after returning from sports hernia surgery last month.

Game notes

At one point in the third quarter, all five Magic starters and their sixth man had at least three fouls. No one ended up fouling out. ... Washington C Etan Thomas was not with the team because of a death in the family. He's scheduled to return for Washington's game Friday against the New Orleans Hornets. ... Orlando outrebounded the Wizards 41-34.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 98 106
FGM-FGA 30-75 (.400) 36-71 (.507)
3PM-3PA 7-21 (.333) 6-12 (.500)
FTM-FTA 31-41 (.756) 28-37 (.757)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-34 9-41
Assists 16 23
Turnovers 10 14
Steals 7 6
Blocks 7 5
Fast Break Points 13 16
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 31 (0/0)
Largest Lead 9 11

Top Performers

Antawn Jamison Jamison
Points: 30
Reb: 12
Ast: 1
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Jameer Nelson Nelson
Points: 22
Reb: 5
Ast: 5
Stl: 1
Blk: 0