CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 27 (Ticker) --
The Charlotte Hornets may not be in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff standings much longer.
scored 21 points and Jamal Mashburn
barely missed a triple-double with 20, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Hornets extended their season-high winning streak to seven games with a 111-104 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Charlotte battled injuries for the first four months of the season but managed to hang around the bottom of the playoff
picture. Now the Hornets are nearly at full strength and have proved to be among the elite teams in the conference.
"This team has shown me in several ways that they're coming together," Charlotte coach Paul Silas said. "We need to keep it up and get to the playoffs on an upswing."
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Mashburn Crunches Orlando
P.J. Brown made nine of 13 shots, and scored eight of his 18 points in the third quarter.
Charlotte has matched its longest run of the 2000-01 season with an impressive offensive performance against Orlando, shooting 56 percent (44-of-78) from the floor and making 7-of-13 3-pointers.
Magloire made 8-of-11 shots and grabbed six rebounds in place of starting center Elden Campbell
, who was not with the team for personal reasons.
"Magloire has been playing real well as a starter," Silas said.
"The sky is the limit for him. This is only the tip of the iceberg. He's got a big heart and with that he can go a long way."
"I've been taught very well," Magloire said. "Coach Silas has confidence in me and that helps me feel confident in myself.
Seven wins feels real good, but eight will feel much better." P.J. Brown
scored 18 points and Baron Davis
collected 15, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Hornets (37-33), who pulled into a tie with sixth-place Philadelphia (37-33) in the Eastern Conference.
Orlando (38-33), which is tied with Milwaukee for the fourth spot in the East, one-half game ahead of Charlotte.
Charlotte never trailed but was clinging to a 98-97 lead before David Wesley
, who scored 11 points, buried a 3-pointer with 3:38 remaining.
Brown added a jumper 52 seconds later for a six-point edge and the teams traded baskets before Mashburn nailed a game-clinching 3-pointer to give the Hornets a 108-101 cushion with 33 seconds to go.
The Hornets controlled the paint, outscoring the Magic, 52-30 in the paint and holding a 40-35 rebounding edge.
"They rebound well but the biggest thing is that they shot the ball so well tonight," Magic guard Darrell Armstrong
"When they missed, they were able to get the ball back." Tracy McGrady
had 25 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals for Orlando, which has lost three of its last four games.
"As far as our mental mistakes were concerned, that was probably out worst game of the year," Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "With that being said, our team still had a chance to win and that was because they played hard."
Reserve Troy Hudson
scored 25 points, Pat Garrity
added 18 and Horace Grant
17 as the Magic shot 48 percent (41-of-85) and buried 9-of-15 3-pointers.
Magloire scored 10 points and Charlotte made 16-of-25 shots in the first quarter en route to a 36-27 lead. The Hornets had their largest lead at 56-42 with 3:12 remaining in the second before the Magic closed the first half on a 10-2 run.
"I thought after the first quarter it was going to be easy,"
Silas said. "They made a run and got right back into it."
Grant scored seven points in the second quarter and capped the first half with a three-point play to bring the Magic within 58-52 at halftime.
Charlotte had a 93-80 cushion with only 7:44 to go, but Orlando rallied with an 17-5 spurt. Hudson scored the first six points of the stretch and Grant added a pair of layups, capping the burst to bring the Magic within 98-97 at the 4:06 mark.