WASHINGTON - The Orlando Magic cannot explain with certainty why they play so much worse on the road than at home.
But they know the discrepancy has reached embarrassing proportions.
The Magic tied a single-season franchise record Tuesday night by losing their 16th consecutive road game, falling to the Washington Wizards 115-106 at the Verizon Center, a half-filled arena that isn't a tough venue for visiting teams.
"I don't know what it is," swingman Maurice Harkless said. "But at home we just play a lot better and feel like we can beat anybody. But on the road we struggle. I can't tell you how many games we've lost in a row on the road, but we've got to find a way to get some wins. I think it's a part of us being young, but that's no excuse."
The Wizards seemingly scored at will. All-Star point guard John Wall drove past Jameer Nelson often. Former Magic center Marcin Gortat confounded Nik Vucevic and Kyle O'Quinn. And former Magic swingman Trevor Ariza made plenty of his open looks.
The Wizards sank almost 53 percent of their shots.
"I feel like we weren't aggressive enough on the defensive end," Vucevic said. "We weren't physical enough. I let Gortat score a couple of times on me in the post early on, and they got going outside, too. It was kind of hard for us to stop."
The Magic (17-42) played their second game in a row without veteran swingman Arron Afflalo, who has a sprained right ankle. His absence, coupled with the Magic's buyout of Glen Davis' contract, has left the team even younger than it usually is. Eight of the nine players who took the floor for Orlando on Tuesday night range in age from 20 to 24 years old.
Nelson, at 32, is the oldest of the bunch.
He awoke at 5 Tuesday morning with a splitting headache and a bloody nose due to a sinus issue. He remained in the Magic's starting lineup and finished with 7 points and eight assists.
But he was no match for Wall, arguably the NBA's fastest player. Wall complemented his speed with an effective outside shot to score a game-high 27 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
"It's harder to win on the road, obviously," Nelson said. "You've just got to will yourself to a win at times. You can't have those moments where you just have mistakes after mistakes after mistakes on possessions on both ends of the court."
The Magic committed 17 turnovers - six of them by Nelson.
And the Wizards piled up 13 fast-break points, while the Magic had none.
Magic rookie Victor Oladipo, playing against the team he rooted for as a child, scored 26 points, a team-high. Oladipo grew up in nearby Upper Marlboro, Md., and family and friends dotted the Verizon Center stands.
"It's always special to play in front of them," Oladipo said. "But I'd rather win in front of them than play in front of them."
The Magic lost 16 straight road games within a single season once before, from Jan. 27-March 21, 2006.
This season, Orlando is an NBA-worst 3-27 on the road and 14-15 at home.
The Wizards (29-28) are attempting to reach the playoffs for the first time in six years. Those postseason hopes took a hit Sunday, when Nene, their starting power forward, sprained a ligament in his left knee.
Ariza and Gortat helped fill the void Tuesday by combining to score 43 points.
"We needed to start winning some games at home," Ariza said.
On Tuesday, the Wizards played the right team to do that.
"We definitely were able to score throughout the whole game," Vucevic said. "We just couldn't get stops, and you can't do that on the road. We have to get stops on the road. That's the only way you can win."