CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 21 (Ticker) -- Brevin Knight delivered a much needed win for the Charlotte Bobcats and a blow to the playoff hopes of the Orlando Magic.

Knight converted a three-point play with 12 seconds left and the Bobcats overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to post a 102-97 victory over the shorthanded Magic.

NBA TV highlights from
"He's a floor general," Charlotte rookie forward Emeka Okafor said. "He can go out there and score when he needs to. He thinks pass first, shoot second, but he can hit the shot when he needs to and did tonight for us."

With the Bobcats (13-52) nursing 97-95 lead in the closing seconds, Knight let the shot clock wind down inside 10 seconds before making a move on rookie guard Jameer Nelson.

Knight dribbled hard to his right and took a bump before lofting in a runner in the lane over Dwight Howard. He converted the free throw to give the Bobcats a 100-95 lead.

"The first half we had a little success with the 1-4 flat (offense)," Knight said. "So we thought, Why not try it again? I knew once I got the step on him that he'd (Nelson) have to body and foul. The next thing was just trying to concentrate and get the ball up to the rim. It went in, so it turned out to be a good play for us."

"(Brevin) is a stabilizer with the ball in his hands," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "His teammates have confidence in him. We wanted the ball in his hands. The confidence is that he is going to make a play for his teammates and himself."

Orlando (32-35) had a 55-44 halftime lead thanks to All-Star Grant Hill and rookie Dwight Howard. Hill had 20 points and Howard 19 at the break, more than making up for the absence of star guard Steve Francis, who was serving the second game of a three-game suspension.

In the second half, the Bobcats outscored the Magic, 58-42, and limited Hill and Howard to a combined seven points. Hill finished with 25 points and Howard 21.

"The Bobcats got the momentum in the third quarter and we lost it after that," Hill said. "We really need rest so we can get ready for Thursday's game. But give it to the Bobcats, they just came out on top."

"There was a contrast in the first half and second half," Bickerstaff said. "Grant Hill and Dwight Howard had a field day in the first half. So we did a much better job of paying attention to them. We were in quicksand in the first half and didn't make the commitment to get back on defense."

Knight scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and added eight assists. Okafor scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half and grabbed 13 rebounds for his 35th double-double of the season.

"They played harder in the second half," Nelson said. "We can't play only one half of good basketball."

"We all just stuck together and focused in on the victory," Okafor said. "We didn't really have all those ticky-tack mistakes that we usually have. We just kept our resolve on the court tonight."

Orlando came in tied with Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but could not separate itself, losing for the second time in three games against Charlotte. The teams play again Thursday in Orlando.

"I told them we gave a great effort, but that we played (only) a half game of a basketball game," Orlando interim coach Chris Jent said. "We look back sometimes and say, 'We can,' but there is no more 'We can.' It's now 'We have to.' That is where we are right now."

"As a team, we need to run the floor, share the ball and play team defense," Howard said. "If we do those three things, we will be a tough team to beat."

The Bobcats continued to play shorthanded with just nine available players. They lost guard Keith Bogans to back spasms late in the first half and shuttled Knight in and out on the defensive end due to back spasms of his own.

"We've been playing with eight, nine guys all year," Knight said. "We're kind of veterans to that."

The Bobcats won for just the second time this month.

"It's good to get a win," Okafor said. "We definitely needed this win. We really played hard and Brevin did his thing tonight and really helped us pull it out."