Back spasms continue to plague Dwight Howard as the Orlando Magic prepare to face the Washington Wizards without their All-Star center in the nation's capital.
Howard was scheduled to travel with the Magic to Washington but has been listed as doubtful as Orlando shoots for its 10th straight win and its second consecutive season sweep over the Wizards.
The big man missed his third game over the past two weeks with the problem on Monday but Orlando cruised to its second straight win anyway, routing Detroit in Central Florida, 119-89.
Jason Richardson scored 22 points and J.J. Redick added 20 in that one for the Magic, who set a season-high in points scored despite being without their top player, Howard, the injured Hedo Turkoglu (facial fracture) and the suspended Chris Duhon.
Jameer Nelson added 18 points and nine assists while Glen Davis went for 16 points and 16 rebounds to pick up some of the slack in Howard's absence. Ryan Anderson returned from a three-game absence due to a sprained ankle to contribute 14 points.
With the win Orlando pulled even with idle Atlanta at 34-23 for the fifth slot in the Eastern Conference, one game behind No. 3 Indiana. It was the second straight victory for the Magic on the heels of their first five-game losing streak in more than five years.
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, still the focus of headlines after saying last week that Howard had asked he be fired, said the lockout-shortened season, with so many games packed so closely together, doesn't look interminable any more.
"There are going to be ups and downs with nine games to go," he said. "But I like the level we've played at the last two games and hopefully it will continue."
Duhon, who was suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team, should be available tonight.
The Wizards, meanwhile, snapped a five-game skid on Monday by topping the only team worse then them in the standings, the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.
Seven different Wizards finished in double figures as Washington dominated the Bobcats 113-85 at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Jordan Crawford led the way with 20 points and Cartier Martin followed closely behind with 19. James Singleton poured in 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while John Wall scored just two points but did hand out 12 assists for the Wizards.
"It always feels good to win," said Martin after the win. "The starters came out and set the tone and the bench came in and we played well tonight."