Magic 106, Bobcats 74


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Dwight Howard had 22 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots Friday night to lead the Orlando Magic to their third straight victory, 106-74 over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Jameer Nelson added 20 points, going 4-of-6 from 3-point range for the Magic, who limited Charlotte to just 29 percent shooting. Reserve forward Trevor Ariza had 10 points and nine rebounds.

Matt Carroll led the Bobcats with 19 points, while Raymond Felton had 11 points and seven assists. Derek Anderson was the only other Bobcats player in double figures with 10.

The Magic used a 16-0 run that bridged the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth to break open what had been close game. Orlando led only 64-60 with four minutes to go in the third quarter, but scored nine straight to end the period, then opened the fourth with seven more to push their lead to 80-60.

Nelson had five points in the 9-0 run. His fourth 3-pointer gave Orlando a 73-60 lead going in the final period.

Howard opened the fourth quarter with a three-point play, starting a run of seven straight points that put Orlando up by 20 with 9:33 left in the game. Charlotte never got closer than 14 after that.

The Magic hit eight of their first nine shots of the game, including a pair of 3-pointers by Nelson, to jump out to a 13-point lead. A pair of free throws by Keith Bogans capped an 11-0 run that made it 24-11 with 4:57 left in the first period.

The Bobcats rallied behind the 3-point shooting of Carroll, Felton and Anderson, who were a combined 7-of-14 behind the arc in the first half. A 3-pointer by Carroll cut the Magic lead to six at the end of the first quarter, and the Bobcats tied the game at 45 on two free throws by Anderson with 3:43 left in the second.

Notes: Howard made a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, the first of his career. Charlotte C Primoz Brezec had a season-high 12 rebounds. … Jeff McInnis played his first game for Charlotte. He was 0-for-4 from the field and finished with two points. Carroll missed his first free throw attempt, ending a string of 37 straight makes. Magic C Darko Milicic left the game in the first quarter with a strained foot. He did not return and is listed day-to-day. The Magic are in the midst of a four-game homestand and have played 11 of their last 14 at Amway Arena. They are just 6-5 in those 11 games. Magic shooting guards Grant Hill and Keyon Dooling missed their third straight game. Hill has a sore left foot and Dooling a strained left Achilles. Bobcats SF Gerald Wallace missed his second straight game with a separated shoulder.

AP-ES-01-05-07 2148EST