Magic-Bobcats Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 15, 2012
Playing a third game in four nights, the Orlando Magic's trip to Charlotte could be coming at just the right time. The Magic will try to win for the third time in four games Saturday night when they take on the free-falling Charlotte Bobcats, losers of 10 straight. After finishing a five-game road trip with three wins, Orlando (9-13) lost 86-80 to red-hot Atlanta on Wednesday before beating Golden State 99-85 on Friday to snap a four-game home losing streak. The Magic rank near the bottom of the NBA in 3-pointers per game (5.5), but would like to carry over their hot shooting after connecting on 9 of 21 attempts in stopping the Warriors' five-game winning streak. "I just think we got our legs back underneath us a little bit,'' coach Jacque Vaughn said. "I think it showed in our ability to make shots tonight (and) kept the floor moving. It's good to have a lot of things go well for us tonight.'' Orlando improved to 9-4 with a 100.7 scoring average when it makes at least five 3-pointers. The Magic, however, are 0-9 while averaging 79.2 points when finishing with four or fewer 3s. J.J. Redick, the Magic's leading 3-point shooter, finished with four 3s and 16 points against the Warriors. He's gone 9 for 20 from long distance in his last three games. While the Magic rank near the bottom of the league in scoring (91.9), they should like their chances against a Charlotte defense that has allowed the most 3-pointers in the league (9.4 per game) after giving up 14 in a 113-90 loss to Atlanta on Thursday night. The Hawks shot a season-high 57.3 percent from the field against Charlotte (7-15), which has allowed 108.7 points per game during its skid after giving up just 99.6 during a 7-5 start. "We can't come up with any consistent stops,'' guard Gerald Henderson said. "It's on everybody. We're playing in the NBA. There are some tough matchups out there for whatever lineups we have out there.'' The loss in Atlanta gave the Bobcats their sixth double-digit losing streak in the nine-year history of the franchise. They haven't won since outlasting Washington 108-106 in double overtime on Nov. 24. Charlotte, though, still has a ways to go to equal the team record of 23, set during last season's 7-59 campaign. "We're a young team, but we will stay together and hopefully start playing better and getting some breaks as well," rookie Jeff Taylor said after scoring 12 points against the Hawks. After averaging 21.2 points in his first six games in December, leading scorer Kemba Walker will try to bounce back from scoring 13 points on 6 of 15 shooting against the Hawks. That might not be easy. Walker averaged 7.8 points and shot 31.1 percent in four games against Orlando as a rookie last season. Henderson, on the other hand, has averaged 19.0 points in his last five versus the Magic. Orlando had won nine straight in Charlotte - including a pair of playoff victories - before the Bobcats' 100-84 win March 6.
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