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Wizards' Seraphin looks like a star with Magic's Howard out

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

It may have been understudy night at Verizon Center. But Kevin Seraphin once again gave a performance worthy of top billing, scoring a career-high 24 points in a 93-85 win over the Orlando Magic. It was the second win in a row for the Wizards and snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Magic, who were playing without Dwight Howard.

Seraphin also set a career high in rebounds (13) and matched his career high in blocks (four), rejecting a slam dunk attempt by Glen Davis (12 points, 10 rebounds) that clanged out of bounds off the rim as Davis hit the floor with 4:09 to play.

With key fourth-quarter efforts by Jordan Crawford (21 points, four assists), John Wall (15 points, seven assists) and James Singleton (12 points), the Wizards (14-44, .241) moved within one victory of avoiding the worst winning percentage in franchise history. Washington needs 15 wins to eclipse a mark set by the Chicago Packers, who finished their first year of existence, the 1961-62 season, with a record of 18-62 (.225).

Without Howard, the Magic (34-24) turned early to J.J. Redick (15 points), who matched his season average with 11 points in the opening quarter. The last four came after he was fouled taking a 3-pointer by Crawford, who went to the bench with an early pair of fouls. Redick and Jameer Nelson (19 points, seven assists) each hit two of Orlando's five 3-pointers in the quarter, while the Wizards had trouble around the basket, missing a trio of layups in the early going. But Redick and Nelson didn't score again in the half after the Magic opened up a 29-16 lead on Nelson's 3 with 1:11 remaining in the first quarter.

Seraphin may have shuffled his feet but still finished consecutive post moves as Washington opened the second quarter with a 9-2 run. Extending his run of consecutive starts to seven with Nene and Trevor Booker both sidelined by plantar fasciitis, Seraphin then cocked back for a massive right-handed slam on a feed from Crawford to cut the Magic lead to 39-34.

Wall swiped Jason Richardson's pass, shifted into high gear and blew through the retreating Magic defense to finish a three-point play to put the Wizards back on top before Davis knotted the halftime score at 41.

Shutout in second-chance points in the first half 13-0, the Wizards got their first of the game when Jan Vesely (five points, nine rebounds) chased down Davis from behind for a steal to extend the possession. Crawford finished it off with the first of eight straight points.

Washington took its biggest lead, 60-55, on a 3-pointer from Cartier Martin (12 points). But Martin coughed up the ball on the next trip, setting up Quentin Richardson's (14 points) dunk at the other end. Shelvin Mack's miss then turned into a spinning reverse layup for Ishmael Smith as the Wizards botched three straight possessions to end the third quarter down 61-60. But the Wizards never trailed again after Seraphin's back-to-back buckets put the Wizards up 67-65.

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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