Game 3: Orlando Magic @ Charlotte Bobcats


The Orlando Magic look to take a commanding three games-to-zero series lead when they take on the Charlotte Bobcats Saturday afternoon. Tip-off from the Time Warner Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina is scheduled for 2:00 pm EST and will be shown locally by Sun Sports and nationally by TNT.


Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard

Rashard Lewis

Matt Barnes

Vince Carter

Jameer Nelson

Charlotte Bobcats

Theo Ratliff

Boris Diaw

Gerald Wallace

Stephen Jackson

Raymond Felton

The Line: Orlando – 2.0

Magic Forward Rashard Lewis sprained his ankle in Wednesday’s victory but says he is fine and plans to start in game 3.

The Charlotte Bobcats were outstanding at home during the 2009-10 regular season. The Bobcats, who went just 13-28 on the road, went 31-10 at home. Orlando was, however, one of the better road teams in the league, posting a record of 25-16, including a perfect 2-0 record in Time Warner Arena.

The Bobcats are going to come out with a lot more energy on Saturday afternoon and emotions should be running high early.

“Game three is the most important game right now,” Vince Carter said. “We know the level of intensity is going to go up another notch, especially from them just being in the first playoff game at home.”

The Bobcats, who haven’t drawn great crowds this season, should pack Time Warner Cable Arena and have the building rocking for their first ever playoff game. The Magic will have to withstand this early emotion and try to take the crowd out of it.

“It’s going to be crazy in there,” Carter added. “And I think we’re going to have to weather the storm. They’re going to give us a big punch early and most important is to weather the storm and pull it out in the end.”

Charlotte is definitely looking forward to playing at home.

“The atmosphere is going to be crazy and wild,” Raymond Felton said. “It is going to be an experience that we never experienced before.”

Orlando has done an excellent job on the defensive end and must continue to do so if they hope to get another victory on Saturday.

Keeping Dwight Howard, who has averaged just 28 minutes per game in this series, on the floor will be more important when playing on Charlotte’s home court. If Howard does get into trouble again, the Magic believe they have enough weapons to compensate for it.

“I think everybody is going to have a different role every game,” Rashard Lewis said. “It’s from game to game, it will be different people and they’ll change the defense around.”

One way the Magic compensated for Howard’s absence in game 2 was to get Vince Carter going. He was able to create mismatches and attack the basket through the pick-and-roll, which he ran effectively with Howard, Jameer Nelson, and Marcin Gorat.

Howard laid out a few other things the Magic have to do to beat the Bobcats.

“In order to beat this team, you have to do two things, not turn the ball over and not allow them to get points in the paint,” Howard told reporters. “Three things; get to the free throw line. Those are the areas that we want to continue to work on and I think the first two games, we’ve done a pretty good job. We have to continue to do that.”

The Magic have held the Bobcats to 34 points per game in the paint, have gotten to the line 31 times per game and have turned the ball over 11.5 times per game. Obviously, the Magic are doing a pretty good job in all three of these categories, but there is still room for improvement.

As Tom Sorenson of the Charlotte Observer explained, the Bobcats need a player besides Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace to step up. Sorenson nominated both Raymond Felton and Boris Diaw as candidates.

One thing Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy is sure of is that the Bobcats are well-coached and will play hard no matter what.

“These are very hard played games, it’s because of how they play,” Van Gundy said.

“It’s trying to get our bodies right to go back to battle against on Saturday because these guys play extremely hard,” he later added.

Feel free to leave comments about game 3 below.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).