They played with urgency Wednesday night, and their teammates followed.
“I’m happy with what we did,” Van Gundy said. “Look, in the NBA, anybody’s capable of beating you, and that team certainly is. They’ve got a lot of talent.”
Richardson scored the Magic’s first five points. Nelson made the next basket. The Magic led 7-0, and the rout was on.
Orlando never trailed, and Washington never tied the score.
Howard dominated inside, scoring a season-high 28 points and collecting 20 rebounds. He encountered minimal resistance from Wizards center JaVale McGee, who was fighting off a cold. Seven of Howard’s 11 baskets were dunks.
Anderson finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive glass.
“Coach made it a big focus for us to get on the rebounds and help Dwight out, obviously, because he’s rebounding the ball like crazy right now,” Anderson said.
Richardson scored just eight points, but he added four rebounds and five assists.
Richardson was aggressive early. He took Orlando’s first three shots — making a layup and a 3-pointer — and he also drew a foul on his counterpart at shooting guard, Nick Young.
“We play a lot of games, but that’s no excuse for not coming out with energy and ready to play,” Richardson said. “I watched myself on film and saw that I’m not bringing energy, and I’m an energy player. That’s how I play, and I know I’ve got to do a better job and do it every game.”
Young is a streaky player, and he was terribly inefficient, making just five of his 15 shot attempts. He didn’t have an assist.
Washington’s dynamic second-year point guard, John Wall, fared better, but he wasn’t much of a factor.
Wall missed his first six shots. He finished with 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting and five assists.
“We got embarrassed,” Wall said.
After struggling in his previous four games, Nelson finished with seven points, three rebounds and nine assists.
Nelson felt that he had been thinking too much on the court, focusing too much on trying to keep everybody involved.
“I need to stay on the attack,” Nelson said.
“I was just trying to get guys involved and doing it in the sense of just throwing the ball and standing in the corner and not getting them involved off of my penetration.”
The first quarter ended with Orlando ahead 31-14.
The Magic (5-2) had little trouble from that point forward against the Wizards (0-6), whose body language was awful for the entire night.
Rashard Lewis played in his first game at Amway Center since his trade to Washington on Dec. 18, 2010. He scored just six points on 3-of-10 shooting.
“To me, nobody had any energy,” Lewis said. “Nobody came out ready to play. You could look at everybody’s body language, and they just weren’t into the game. I don’t know why. Nobody came ready to play.
“We definitely had a gameplan, especially at shootaround. To me, nobody came out and competed. I don’t know if we were scared or we just went through the motions.”
As halftime came to a close, with Orlando ahead 56-38, Lewis stopped in the tunnel between the visitors’ locker room and the arena floor to accommodate some Magic fans who wanted pictures and autographs.
Two quarters remained. But most of the announced crowd of 18,846 and the Wizards seemed to know the game already was well in hand for the Magic.
Richardson and Nelson had set the tone.
The rest of the Magic followed their lead.
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