Howard, Battie Own Paint in Magic Win
Orlando 108, Charlotte 92
ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 7 (Ticker) -- Big men Dwight Howard and Tony Battie took complete advantage of the smallish Charlotte Bobcats.
Howard collected 19 points and 12 rebounds and Battie added 16 and 12 as the Orlando Magic ended a three-game slide with a 108-92 triumph over the Bobcats.
"Battie and Howard just wore us down," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "In the second half, they went to work and we had to battle them in the lane. (It was) too much for us to overcome."
"We knew they were undersized down low, so we wanted to take advantage of that," Howard said. "Tony played really big for us and was a big key in the win."
Charlotte guards Keith Bogans and Brevin Knight marveled at Orlando's tandem and realized their team was at a complete disadvantage.
"They (Howard and Battie) are two very good big men," Bogans said. "Dwight can play. He's athletic and he can jump out of the gym. Battie is just a veteran. He's playing well, too. We are without size right now, so they went to our weakness."
"They stayed true to what they do", said Knight, who scored nine points and added six assists before leaving late in the third period with back spasms. "They were going to play their game and make us try and beat them at their game. (Howard and Battie) are big and athletic. They did a good job of controlling it inside."
Despite the absence of their frontcourt triumvirate, the Bobcats managed a 56-55 lead early in the third period.
However, Battie connected on a short bank shot with 8:29 left to begin a 27-4 burst that closed out the period and put away the game.
"Dwight and Tony got every rebound," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "They didn't get second and third shots like they were getting in the first half. Because they had everybody going for the offensive rebounds, we were able to get out and run. That's what the third quarter was all about. Good defense, hold them to one shot and get out and run."
"They were really aggressive going to the basket (in the third quarter)," said Bobcats guard Gerald Wallace, who scored 12 points and collected 10 rebounds. "Once they started running, it was hard for us to match up with their bigs running downcourt. I didn't know they had a 27-4 run. I was shocked when I looked up and we were down by about 15 or 16."
Battie and Steve Francis, who scored 18 points, each scored six during the charge. Jameer Nelson added four of his 18 points in the decisive run as did DeShawn Stevenson, who scored 16 to round out a stellar game for the Orlando starters.
"We just kept pushing the ball," Howard said. "Jameer, Steve and DeShawn did an awesome job of running the court and making easy points for us. That was the key in the third quarter."
"They had a lot of people injured, so they had to try and play with a lot of different lineups," Francis said. "We were able to counter everything they did. It was a good win ... a well-needed win."
Bogans scored 22 points for Charlotte, which has lost four in a row after winning four of five for the first time in franchise history.
Orlando shot 56 percent (40-of-71) from the floor, including 13 dunks - seven by Howard. The Magic also dominated the glass, posting a 47-33 advantage on the boards.