ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Dwight Howard had 21 points and 20 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic beat Charlotte 85-77 Tuesday night to hand the Bobcats their fifth straight loss.

Howard and Charlotte’s Emeka Okafor were the top two picks in the 2004 draft, and Orlando’s No. 1 choice looked like the better selection on this night.

Okafor got into early foul trouble and had just eight points – all in the fourth quarter – and six rebounds. He entered the game averaging 13 points and nine rebounds.

Keith Bogans led Charlotte with a season-high 18 points off the bench, while Sean May added 15 points and 10 rebounds. No Bobcats starter scored in double figures.

May’s performance made Orlando’s 2005 draft look pretty bad. The Magic considered taking the North Carolina standout, but opted instead for Spain’s Fran Vazquez, who stunned the team by deciding to stay in Europe.

DeShawn Stevenson had 16 points and Steve Francis added 13 points, five rebounds and six assists. Tony Battie had 11 points and 12 rebounds – his first double-double of the season – in the Magic’s first home win.

Jameer Nelson scored 13 off the bench, including five points in a 12-4 run in the fourth quarter that helped Orlando take control.

Howard also came up big, hitting a baseline jumper and then adding a putback on consecutive possessions to push Orlando’s lead to 76-68 with about 7 minutes to play.

Nelson then drove the lane for a bucket and converted a three-point play to make it an 11-point game.

The Magic failed to score in the final 3:04 of the second quarter, withstanding a 10-point Charlotte run to hold a 47-46 halftime lead.

Notes: Orlando outrebounded Charlotte 50-37, helping the Magic overcome 12 missed free throws. … Charlotte C Jake Voskuhl left with 11:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. … Bobcats leading scorer Gerald Wallace (right wrist) missed his third straight game. Charlotte C Melvin Ely (sore shin) did not play. … The Bobcats got their first two-day rest after opening the season with seven games in 11 days.

AP-ES-11-15-05 2147EST


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