Magic Dominate Overtime, Beat Bobcats 106-95

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Late in the third quarter, it looked like the Magic were going to run away with the game, but they played a terrible fourth quarter defensively, and let their 16-point lead slip away. The Magic flipped the switch in overtime and outscored the Bobcats 14-3 in the extra period, earning a 106-95 win. Orlando’s two most criticized players, Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson, each scored 21 point and Dwight Howard had 20 rebounds and 7 blocks.


Orlando started the game off cold, missing their first three shots before Matt Barnes and Rashard Lewis hit three-pointers. Both defenses played fairly well. Vince Carter had several open looks and looked like he was on his way to another poor shooting performance until he made three consecutive jump shots in the quarter. Nazr Mohammed surprisingly had a 9-point quarter. Both teams shot very poorly – Orlando was 9-of-23 from the field and Charlotte was 10-of-23. The Magic hit four three-pointers. The Bobcats were 0-of-5 from downtown so Orlando held a 24-21 lead after one.

Orlando played very well in first half of the second quarter, building a 9-point lead at 37-28. Backup Point Guard D.J. Augustin brought a lot of energy off of the bench for the Bobcats and he helped the Bobcats go on a 12-3 run and cut the lead to just two. Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson helped put some distance between the two squads. Carter drove to the hoop for the layup, hit a three-pointer and hit another layup on a beautiful pass from Nelson. Nelson hit a three-pointer and had three assists during the same span. Boris Diaw drew a foul at the buzzer and hit two free throws cutting the lead to four at the half.

The Magic really turned up their play during the third quarter. With 8:18 to go in the period, Jameer Nelson hit a three-pointer that sparked a 14-3 run that gave Orlando a 63-50 lead. Rashard Lewis and Mickael Pietrus hit back-to-back threes to give them a 69-53 lead but D.J. Augustin hit two three-pointers to end the quarter making it 69-59.

Orlando’s defense fell apart in the fourth quarter. Charlotte scored 33 points on 11-of-17 shooting and went 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Bobcats went on a 21-10 run and cut a 12-point lead to 81-80. Carter hit two free throws to push the lead back to three but Gerald Wallace matched him, hitting two of his won. After Carter drove to the hoop and hit a layup while falling, D.J. Augustin’s three-pointer tied the game. Jameer Nelson hit a beautiful jumper, Orlando got a stop and Rashard Lewis gave the Magic a four point lead. Raymond Felton hit another three and the Bobcats immediately fouled Vince Carter. Carter missed the first free throw and made the second, leaving the door open for the Bobcats. Felton made a great drive and dished it to Stephen Jackson, who put the game in overtime.

The Bobcats had all the momentum heading into overtime but the Magic dominated the extra period. Jameer Nelson was great. Nelson hit a jumper, drove to the hoop and was fouled hard. He both free throws and gave the Magic a four-point lead. After two more stops, Matt Barnes made a three-pointer and Nelson drove to the hoop for another layup, giving Orlando a nine-point lead. Stephen Jackson’s dunk with 1:39 to play was Charlotte’s first basket of the period. Orlando shot 5-of-7 in the period, held the Bobcats to 1-of-8 shooting and won the game 106-95.

NBA

Orlando won this game with defense. They played three pretty solid defensive quarters before letting up in the final quarter and allowed the Bobcats to send it to overtime. In overtime, Orlando’s defense was excellent. In fact, Head Coach Stan Van Gundy had great things to say about overtime.

"“In the overtime, that’s the best five minutes of defense, we’ve played all year. A lot of times, people just miss shots, it’s not really your defense. In the overtime, it was our defense. I thought they had trouble even really getting a good look at the basket.”"

Charlotte shot an effective field goal percentage of just 44.9%. The Magic forced 12 Bobcat turnovers and blocked 11 shots.

Dwight Howard, who had a poor offensive performance after two consecutive good games, was incredible on the defensive end. He grabbed 17 defensive rebounds, blocked 7 shots and altered 7 more. He was especially good in overtime. As Van Gundy said, the Bobcats were hesitant to even enter the paint during overtime.

Orlando’s backcourt was excellent Saturday night. Van Gundy singled out Carter’s effort on defense was very good for the second straight night. Carter did an excellent job on Charlotte’s guard and had a good game himself offensively. Carter shot 8-of-16 from the field and scored 21 points. Nelson was 8-of-12 in the game, scored 21 points, had 7 assists and just a single turnover. Both players were much more aggressive and frequently drove to the basket. It was the best that either player has looked in quite some time and probably the best Nelson has played this season.

Orlando’s bench also gave a great effort. J.J. Redick hit two huge three-pointers down the stretch.

The rest of the Magic had bad shooting nights. Only Redick and Nelson shot over .500. Rashard Lewis was 6-of-17 and both Howard and Matt Barnes went 4-of-11.

Game Notes:

  • The Magic won the rebounding battle 49-46.
  • Both teams went 16-of-22 from the free throw line.
  • D.J. Augustin was fantastic. He brought a lot of energy, scored 22 points and hit five three-pointers.
  • The Magic still committed 12 turnovers, but it was a much better night than Friday when Orlando turned the ball over 23 times.
  • The Bobcats had 44 points in the paint to Orlando’s 34.

Next Up: The Magic travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies Monday.

Final Thought: It was good for the Magic to win a close game.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)