With just two wins in December (2-10), the new year can't get here any faster for the lowly Washington Wizards.
The Wizards hope to close out a three-game homestand on a positive note when they host the Orlando Magic Friday night from the Verizon Center. Washington is mired in an eight-game slide and dropped an 87-84 decision to the Cleveland Cavaliers the last time out on Wednesday.
Emeka Okafor scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Wizards, while leading scorer Jordan Crawford (career high 15.5 ppg) netted 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting in a losing cause. Nene tallied 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Wizards.
"We need to start making winning plays down the stretch," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We turned the ball over down the stretch and we won't commit to playing defense."
Washington is winless in five straight at home and owns a 2-11 record in D.C. this season. It is also just 1-17 against the East, losing seven in a row against the conference, and is last in the NBA with 88.6 ppg.
Crawford is averaging 18.4 points, 6.1 assists and 5.0 rebounds in 12 games this month. In five career meetings with Orlando, Crawford has registered averages of 16.6 points, 5.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds.
Orlando will try to put the brakes on a three-game losing streak Friday and work on its 5-8 record outside of central Florida.
The Magic had won four in a row before their recent slide and dropped a 97-94 decision versus the New Orleans Hornets Wednesday at Amway Center, where Jameer Nelson had a season-high 28 points and 10 assists.
"He did a good job of creating shots for himself and for others," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said about Nelson.
Nikola Vucevic notched 19 points and nine boards for Orlando, which allowed the Hornets to shoot 50 percent from the floor and halt an 11-game slide. Vucevic missed a late three-pointer from the corner on the final possession.
Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick had 14 and 12 points, respectively, in defeat.
After visiting the Wizards, Orlando will return home for four straight games versus Toronto, Miami, Chicago and New York.
The Magic and Wizards will meet for the second time in less than two weeks since Orlando recorded a 90-83 victory at home. Redick led the way with 17 points in that one, while the Wizards were paced by Nene's 20 points.
Orlando is 10-1 in the past 11 matchups with the Wizards, losers in nine of the past 11 as the host in this series.