Recap: Orlando Magic 90, Charlotte Bobcats 86 | Magic Basketball

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Apr 24

Recap: Orlando Magic 90, Charlotte Bobcats 86

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Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

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The Charlotte Bobcats entered today’s game looking for their first playoff win in franchise history but the Orlando Magic didn’t follow the script, as they defeated the Bobcats by the score of 90-86 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs. The Magic were led by the player of the game and arguably the player of the series, so far — Jameer Nelson. For the second time in three games, Nelson tied a career playoff-high by scoring 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting and stepping up in crunch time when Orlando needed him. Plus, Nelson set a playoff franchise record by scoring the most points in a quarter (19 in the first). For a third consecutive game, Dwight Howard was saddled with foul trouble and finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, and seven blocks in roughly 26 minutes. Marcin Gortat played the unexpected role of playoff hero, sealing the game for the Magic by hitting two free-throws in the final seconds.

The energy and enthusiasm at Time Warner Cable Arena was palpable, as expected, as the Bobcats looked to get back in the series with a victory that they desperately needed. And for the majority of the game, things were looking good for Charlotte.

Reasons?

— The Bobcats’ bench, including the likes of Larry Hughes, Nazr Mohammed, and Tyrus Thomas, thoroughly outplayed the reserves for the Magic, not only by outscoring them but by playing at a higher intensity level that was undoubtedly attributed by the boisterous support of the home crowd.

— Orlando did a poor job of taking care of the basketball. The Magic turned the ball over 21 times, which literally played into the Bobcats’ hands since they are a team that feeds off of turnovers. Charlotte was third in the NBA during the regular season in turnover percentage (14.7%) so for them, seeing Orlando turning the ball over was a welcome sight. The reason being is that, since Charlotte has struggled all year to score on offense, they really need to create opportunities for themselves to get easy buckets in transition. Especially against a stout defense like the Magic. The Bobcats were able to do that, scoring 31 points off of turnovers.

— Once again, Howard was in foul trouble for the entire game. That made it a little easier for Charlotte to execute offensively because when Howard wasn’t in the game, he couldn’t impose his will on defense against them. On the flip-side, Howard’s absence forced Orlando to play outside-in instead of inside-out for most of the game, which became a problem as the offense bogged down for minutes at a time.

All those factors contributed to the game being tied at 66 apiece at the start of the fourth quarter.

That’s when Howard took over for the Magic.

Visibly frustrated by having to sit on the bench, Howard played with a mean streak on both ends of the court. On offense, Howard was involved in many 4-out/1-in offensive sets and even though he didn’t connect on a ton of shots, he was able to draw fouls on Charlotte’s big men and get to the free-throw line. Considering the circumstances, Howard scoring eight points in the fourth quarter seemed like a minor miracle. On defense, Howard was phenomenal. It’s no secret that the Bobcats like to attack the basket, no matter who is patrolling the paint, but Howard showed again why it’s not a good idea to do it against him by blocking five shots in the period. Unfortunately for Howard, that was the extent of his influence while being on the floor because with 3:31 left in the game, he picked up his fifth and sixth fouls on back-to-back possessions.

With Howard fouled out, it was more than obvious that someone needed to step up for Orlando if they wanted to come away with a victory. Fortunately for the Magic, Rashard Lewis accepted the challenge.

Displaying the type of aggressiveness he’s been showing all series long, Lewis attacked the basket on two consecutive possessions and was able to get to the charity stripe, where he connected on four free-throws to give Orlando a three-point lead with less than two minutes to go in the ball game. From there, the Magic were able to hang on for the win after the Bobcats were unable to hit any shots (excluding two free-throws from D.J. Augustin) and Gortat was able to ice the game by making two free-throws. Yes, Gortat.

But how about Nelson?

Mercy.

FIRST QUARTER:
[11:37] Nelson, 25-foot three-point jump shot (Howard assist)
[8:42] Nelson makes layup (Barnes assist)
[8:07] Nelson, 26-foot three-point jump shot (Howard assist)
[6:58] Nelson makes driving layup
[3:41] Nelson, 25-foot three-point jump shot (Lewis assist)
[0:28] Nelson, 9-foot jump shot
[0:01] Nelson, 33-foot three-point jump shot

THIRD QUARTER:
[10:53] Nelson, 25-foot three-point jump shot (Howard assist)
[9:44] Nelson, 16-foot jump shot
[8:23] Nelson, 17-foot jump shot
[3:41] Nelson, 18-foot jump shot
[0:43] Nelson makes free throw 1 of 2
[0:43] Nelson makes free throw 2 of 2

FOURTH QUARTER
[1:06] Nelson makes two point shot

Nelson picked apart Charlotte’s defense with excellent marksmanship on the perimeter and his monster performance was one of the main reasons why Orlando won the game and have a chance to sweep Charlotte in Game 4.

12 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@NC Magic Fan

Now it seems like I have to make the video. Thanks for piling on the pressure!

@Charles Trinder

Let's just drop it. Thanks.

Charles Trinder
Charles Trinder

@AB’s triple double
Typical response from an "argumentative" fan

NC Magic Fan
NC Magic Fan

@ Eddy - That video could make you a legend among Magic fans (not that you're not already)!

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Billy (slickw143)

Hah. Foul-umentary ... good one. May need to steal that. I'll do my best to get something cooked up sometime this week.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

Yeah, I just kept repeating myself throughout the game, "They (Bobcats) should be embarrassed if they don't pull this out."

Also, A foul-umentary on Dwight would be cool. Maybe get a link on Truehoop for it too.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@derekk

Yeah, Nelson's transformation back to All-Star form is key if the Magic want to get far in the playoffs.

@Billy (slickw143)

I could be wrong but I don't see how that loss wasn't demoralizing for the Bobcats. The game was theirs for the taking, amidst a number of favorable circumstances, and they still couldn't win.

@Will

Truly a team win, no doubt.

@NC Magic Fan

I could probably make a video in the next few days, sure.

NC Magic Fan
NC Magic Fan

Hey Eddy, would it be possible for you to put together a video of Dwight Howards fouls and the activity leading up to them? I feel like half or more of his fouls have been reacting to hooks and grabs that intigated the foul and may, in fact, have been callable.

Will
Will

I was impressed with how much of a 'team' effort was displayed by the Magic here. Rashard hit his free-throws and hit two big buckets, Jameer led the charge, VC realized he was going into jump-shot mode and decided to drive, Dwight did his best, Bass made a cameo, and let's not forget the Polish Hammer icing some big free throws!

For the first time this playoffs I looked at the TEAM and said, 'these guys LOOK like champions'. They just look cool and collected. A lot of people think the Bobcats are an easy 7 seed. . .I think the Magic got one of the hardest matchups of the first round! They are winning with a calm that I am digging.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

"I may have to rethink my opinion of Nelson."

Sigh. I don't know what else the guy can do short of growing 6 inches to silence his critics.

This was a great win for the Magic. If I was a Charlotte resident, I'd be embarrassed that the Bobcats didn't pull it out, considering all of the factors that went their way. Dwight again being relegated to role player status (although a very dominant role player) with fouls. Vince was MIA for most of the game. Turnovers and poor basketball decisions galore. Home crowd going nuts. Larry Hughes announcing that he's still in the NBA. All of that and they still couldn't get the win. Yikes.

derekk
derekk

Same story with Dwight this game, but his fourth quarter, esp. defense, kept the Magic there like you said E.

Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis brought it home, and Jameer has been absolutely phenomenal, two games of 30+ points when he did it only once in the reg. season (that being on defensively weak Toronto too I think). I think there's a good chance, now with his return to All Star form, that if he keeps staying aggressive and attacking the paint, he will be quite effective in every playoff series, his PnR's and drives are too much for many and he backs it up with one of the best mid and long range shooting anyways.

Rashard has such a crafty skill set too, he kills from 3 land, but he keeps driving very well or getting short/mid range jumpers that he hits, always a great thing to iso or post him when Jameer, VC, or Dwight is getting too much attention from opposing defenses.

Jaxfann
Jaxfann

I may have to re think my opinion of Nelson. He has been superb this series.