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Get your brooms out. The Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats by the score of 99-90, sweeping the series and advancing to the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals to await either the Atlanta Hawks or the Milwaukee Bucks. The Magic are the first team in the playoffs to advance to the second round. Also, the sweep marks the first time Orlando accomplished the feat since 1996, when Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway were teammates, and it’s also the franchise’s first four-game sweep. The Magic were led by a balanced attack, with five players scoring in double-figures. Vince Carter played relatively well, scoring 21 points and carrying Orlando in the second half while Dwight Howard was sitting on the bench — again — with foul trouble. Tyrus Thomas led the way for the Bobcats, with 21 points and nine rebounds. Charlotte finishes their year having yet to win a postseason game in franchise history.
This recap is going to be short and sweet because Game 4 played out almost exactly like the previous three games in the series. Howard picked up three fouls in the first half, thus forcing himself to play the role of spectator as the Magic stayed within striking distance against the Bobcats. But for whatever reason, Charlotte continued to settle for jumpshots and refused to put the pressure on Orlando defensively when Marcin Gortat was in the game. Thus the Magic, naturally, dared the Bobcats to beat them from the perimeter and Charlotte was unable to do so, which is why they led by only two points at halftime despite pedestrian performances by almost every Magic player sans Rashard Lewis.
In the second half, Carter snapped out of his funk and that was that.
Carter made his first three-pointer of the series at the 9:08 mark of the third quarter and from there, the shots started to fall for him. To say that Orlando ran the 2/5 pick and roll with Carter and Gortat would be an understatement. The Magic lived off that play on almost every possession until Howard made a rare appearance (half-kidding).
Speaking about Howard, it’s apt that he was able to close out the Bobcats by actually being on the court. Howard’s defensive presence, even in limited minutes, somewhat defined the series for the Magic. From the moment Howard came back into the game in the fourth quarter, Charlotte’s offense completely stalled. The Bobcats were unable to make a field goal for a little more than eight minutes in the period. Eight minutes. Yes, Charlotte is anemic offensively (ranked 24th during the regular season in Offensive Rating) but still. Game 4. Elimination game. No field goals for eight minutes? Even though they played excellent defense in every game, the Bobcats undermined themselves by being unable to score.
[8:33] Pietrus blocks Wallace’s layup
[7:58] Augustin, missed 18-foot jump shot
[6:22] Jackson, missed 25-foot three-point jump shot
[5:56] Howard blocks Augustin’s layup
[4:37] Howard blocks Wallace’s layup
[3:36] Pietrus blocks Jackson’s layup
[2:01] Thomas, missed 18-foot jump shot
[1:46] Diaw, missed 24-foot three-point jump shot
That’s the series in a nutshell.