Howard’s big night helps Magic spellbind Bobcats
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) – Dwight Howard had a double-double with 21
points and 20 rebounds to lead the Orlando Magic over the Charlotte Bobcats,
85-77, at TD WaterHouse Centre.
DeShawn Stevenson added 16 points and Steve Francis contributed 13 points and
six assists for Orlando, which won for the first time at home in four games.
Jameer Nelson added 13 points off the bench in the win.
Keith Bogans led Charlotte in scoring with 18 points and Sean May added 15
points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Bobcats, who lost for the fifth
time in a row.
Emeka Okafor scored eight points on 4-of-9 shooting in the loss.
Orlando jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start the first quarter and two Howard
free throws put the Magic up 18-8 with 4:14 remaining. However, the Bobcats
battled back and led 20-19 after the end of the first frame.
Bogans’ two free throws would extend Charlotte’s lead to 29-23 with 9:19 to go
in the second, but the Magic went on a 11-5 run to tie it at 34-34. The two
teams traded baskets to keep it tied before an 8-0 Orlando run made it 44-36
with just over three minutes remaining.
Again, Charlotte responded and Primoz Brezec’s basket tied it at 44-44, but it
would be Orlando who held a 47-46 lead at the half after Hedo Turkoglu’s
three-point basket with 23 seconds left.
The two teams stayed close throughout the third as the Magic’s 57-52 lead with
6:24 to play was the largest advantage of the quarter. Orlando stayed on top
through the entire frame and Nelson’s fadeaway put the Magic up 63-60 with 19
seconds left in the stanza.
Orlando pulled away in the fourth. With the score 67-64, the Magic went on a
12-4 run to make it 79-68 with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter. Charlotte
never recovered and Tony Battie’s dunk with 3:41 left put Orlando ahead 81-72
en route to the victory.
Howard recorded his fifth double-double in a row…Brevin Knight dished out
nine assists for Charlotte, but shot 1-of-8 from the floor…Brezec finished
with eight points and seven rebounds…Orlando shot 41.7 percent from the
floor to the Bobcat’s 38.0 percent…The Magic held the rebound edge at
50-37…Orlando scored 44 points in the paint.