Howard, Nelson lead Magic past lowly BobcatsJan 6, 2007 - 4:49 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson carried the Orlando Magic to a third straight win.
Howard had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Nelson added 20 points to lead the Magic to an 106-74 triumph over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Orlando took control of the game with an 18-2 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters. The surge gave the Magic an 80-60 cushion.
"Earlier in the year, we weren't a good third-quarter team and I think we wanted to change that as a unit," Nelson said. "We've been getting stops and holding teams to lower amounts than they're used to. I think the team is taking pride in their defense right now. People talk about how we have a lot of scorers. We've got a lot of guys helping each other right now. And that's one of the keys to our success right now."
Howard and Nelson combined for nine points during the decisive burst for the Magic, who shot 57 percent (39-of-68) from the field, including a 9-of-15 showing from 3-point range.
Hedo Turkoglu netted 14 points and Trevor Ariza added 10 and nine rebounds off the bench for Orlando, which held a 45-36 rebounding advantage.
"Trevor's been outstanding," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "You can't say enough about the job he's been doing defensively. His move down the lane on the dunk really got us into a little bit more. He gave us a big lift at both ends in the second half."
Matt Carroll made four 3-pointers and scored 19 points for the Bobcats, who shot a dismal 29 percent (25-of-86).
"They made some adjustments and played tough defense," Carroll said. "They were rotating and doubling down in the post. They made us take quick shots in the second half. We didn't put up a fight in the second half."
"We take a lot of pride in our defense," Howard said. "We know if we play great defense we get a chance to run the floor and do the things we do in the open court."
Emeka Okafor and Raymond Felton struggled for the Bobcats, combining for 16 points on 4-of-19 shooting.
Charlotte scored just 24 points in the second half on 10-of-42 shooting.
"Twenty-four points isn't going to get it done," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "Not in a half. And we really kind of gave in to it and I thought we really played soft when the shots weren't going in. That's not our character. If you score 24 points in the second half, that won't get it done. I think we were six down at the end of the half shooting 34 percent, that won't win."
ORLANDO 106 FINAL
Jan 5 9:33 PM
END 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
CHARLOTTE 27 23 10 60
ORLANDO 33 23 17 73 END 3RD QTR
HIGH SCORERS AFTER 3RD QUARTER
CHA - MATT CARROLL 13, RAYMOND FELTON 11,
DEREK ANDERSON 10
ORL - JAMEER NELSON 20, DWIGHT HOWARD 18,
TREVOR ARIZA 10
Jan 5 8:59 PM
ORLANDO 56 HALFTIME
Jan 5 8:16 PM
ORLANDO 33 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 5 7:37 PM
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