Howard missed his second straight game because of back spasms, and fourth in Orlando's six April games. The Magic have lost three of four in his absence.
"From what they're telling me, I'm not real concerned at all," Van Gundy said before the game of Howard's condition. "This is a move to try to get it to 100 percent and not have to worry about anymore."
Both teams were coming off blowout victories Monday. The Magic beat the Pistons 119-89, and the Wizards defeated the Bobcats 113-85. But it was Washington, with the league's second-worst record, that topped Orlando, which entered the day tied with the Hawks for the Eastern Conference's fourth-best record.
"I don't think it was anybody out there with a lack of effort," Van Gundy said. "We just looked slow tonight. We looked very, very slow, I thought. To me, it didn't look like we weren't trying. I thought guys wanted to do it. They just looked quicker than we were."
The Magic went on 11-2 and 12-2 runs in the first quarter and led until Wall's steal and three-point play capped an 11-0 run that briefly gave Washington a lead late in the first half.
After a tight third quarter, the Wizards used a 9-4 run late in the fourth quarter to pull away.
"We simply cannot play well at a low-energy level," Van Gundy said. "We cannot. We don't have a way to do that. And our players understand, and I think they believe that, and I think they know how they have to play, and I think they want to do it. It's just, tonight, we couldn't do it."
Seraphin scored 10 of Washington's first 22 points, and Van Gundy said the decision to overplay Washington's guards -- rather than focusing on defending Seraphin without Howard contributed to that.
Ishmael Smith was Orlando's backup PG on Tuesday after posting five points and three assists against Detroit on Monday, when the Magic suspended Chris Duhon for conduct detrimental to the team. Smith scored eight points, and Duhon, whom Orlando activated, didn't play against the Wizards. ... Nene and Trevor Booker each missed their seventh straight game game with plantar fasciitis of the left foot. As they had for previous seven games, Jan Vesely and Seraphin started in place ofNene and Booker. ... Rashard Lewis (knee) and Andray Blatche (conditioning) were inactive for Washington. Howard and Hedo Turkoglu (facial fractures) were inactive for Orlando. ... Redick converted a four-point play in the first quarter. ... Crawford scored eight straight points for the Wizards in the third quarter.