By Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel
1:03 AM EST, December 3, 2013
WASHINGTON — The Orlando Magic didn't want to start their road trip like this.
Carved up by John Wall. Lit up by Trevor Ariza. And Nik Vucevic banged up.
On a night rookie Victor Oladipo played his first NBA game in his home area, the Magic had little else to celebrate. They lost to the Washington Wizards 98-80, and Vucevic tweaked his left ankle when he tripped over a cameraman along the baseline early in the third quarter. X-rays taken after the game showed no fracture.
"It's not too bad right now," said Vucevic, who limped to the team bus at Verizon Center without crutches but his ankle heavily taped.
Vucevic didn't play in the fourth quarter. But neither did Oladipo. And neither did Arron Afflalo.
Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn had a good reason for keeping them out: The Wizards had put the game out of reach early in the final period, and the Magic were playing the first game of a back-to-back.
"We didn't give that team our best tonight, and I think they know that, too," Magic power forward Glen Davis said.
Afflalo scored 21 points, but he didn't receive much help.
Aside from Afflalo and Maurice Harkless, the rest of the players on the Magic roster made just 13 of their 48 shot attempts. Perhaps Orlando would've fared better if veteran point guard Jameer Nelson had been healthy, but Nelson sat out his second consecutive game because of a sprained left foot.
While center Marcin Gortat and power forward Nenê played effective defense for Washington, the Wizards received plenty of offense from Wall and Ariza.
Wall scored 16 points and dished out 13 assists, while Ariza scored 24 points on nearly flawless shooting as Washington took control of the game late in the second quarter and never allowed Orlando to draw close.
Oladipo didn't want his homecoming game to go like that.
But, in a way, it still felt like a triumph for him.
He grew up in Upper Marlboro, Md., a suburb of Washington. His parents, Chris and Joan Oladipo, and his three sisters — Kristine, Kendra and his twin, Victoria — sat in the Verizon Center stands.
Although he's an involved father, Chris Oladipo didn't attend his son's games in high school or college.
Victor Oladipo relished the chance to play in front of his family and friends.
"It's incredible," the Magic guard said. "Words can't describe it, really, to be able to come home and play in front of my family, my friends. And my father was actually here today, so it's just a blessing."
In 26 minutes, Oladipo finished with 13 points, six rebounds, two assists and just one turnover.
His best highlight occurred late in the second quarter. He split the defense, drove down the lane and elevated for a two-handed dunk.
A win would've made the night much nicer for Oladipo — and his teammates.
The loss started a six-game road trip that will cover 10 full days and parts of two others. The Magic will play games in Philadelphia, New York, Houston, Memphis and Charlotte.
The trip could become even tougher if Vucevic misses time because of his injured ankle and if Nelson has to sit out more games.
The Magic (6-11) now have lost four consecutive games in the nation's capital.
With the win, the Wizards (9-9) moved to the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 4, 2009.
"It definitely feels good," said Gortat, a former Magic center. "In the past 48 hours, the thing I heard was how everybody is excited that we are finally winning."
The Magic held a .500 record as recently as Nov. 9.
It feels like a long time ago.
email@example.com. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.
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