Charlotte 99, Orlando 89

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 14(AP) -- Charlotte Bobcats head coach Bernie Bickerstaff has been looking for the right rotation of players to break the team out of its recent slump.

He may have found the combination Thursday night, when Sean May and Adam Morrison came off the bench to combine for 54 points in the Bobcats' 99-89 victory over the Orlando Magic.

May scored a career-high 32 points and Morrison added 22 for Charlotte, which snapped a four-game losing streak with its first double-digit win of the season.

Having May and Morrison come off the bench has been Bickerstaff's plan from the start of the season, but injuries to center Primoz Brezec and point guard Brevin Knight forced him to juggle the Bobcats' starting lineup this year.

``We just never had an opportunity to get the lineup we planned,'' Bickerstaff said. ``Sean and Adam play off each other very well.''

May topped his previous best of 26 points, set four days earlier in the Bobcats' 114-84 loss to Phoenix, while Morrison had his best outing on Charlotte's home court since scoring 27 in a loss against Miami on Nov. 25.

``For whatever reason, we play well together,'' May said of Morrison. ``Adam does a good job of spacing the floor, giving you an outlet, and with his ability to score he opens up so much.''

Morrison had struggled to find his range at home, shooting 4-of-34 from the field in four previous games at Bobcats Arena. But he hit 7 of 12 field goals Thursday, including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers.

``Sean always told me every rookie's going to go through some struggles,'' Morrison said. ``I stopped worrying about making mistakes, especially at home. ... I'm just trying to go out now and whatever happens, happens.

``People have to understand everybody's a rookie sometimes. I can't remember anybody except both 23s, Lebron (James) and Mike (Michael Jordan), not struggling as a rookie at some time.''

Emeka Okafor had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats, and Raymond Felton and Gerald Wallace added12 points apiece.

Keyon Dooling scored 20 points for the Magic, who lost their third consecutive game. Travis Diener added 16 points and Carlos Arroyo 13. Dwight Howard pulled down 12 rebounds, but was held to 10 points, nearly eight below his average.

Orlando, playing without three injured starters, outshot Charlotte 49.3 percent to 40.7 percent, but couldn't overcome 23 turnovers and the Bobcats' advantages in rebounding and free throw shooting.

The Magic were without starting forwards Grant Hill and Hedo Turkoglu, and starting point guard Jameer Nelson.

Led by Okafor, Charlotte outrebounded Orlando 42-38 - including a 14-8 on the offensive end - and hit 28 of 34 from the free throw line, where the Magic were 15-for-23.

``You aren't going to win any games turning the ball over like that,'' Orlando head coach Brian Hill said. ``Their front line outworked our front line the entire evening. It's tough to win games when the other team is working harder than you.''

May scored 16 points in the first half, including seven points during a 10-5 run to open the second quarter. He capped the run with a pair of free throws with 8:28 left that put the Bobcats up 25-23.

Charlotte never trailed after that, upping its lead to 45-38 at the break. The Bobcats took their first double-digit lead midway through the third quarter, going up 59-48 with 6:24 remaining on two Felton free throws.

May hit a pair of free throws with 7:11 left in the fourth quarter to put Charlotte ahead 85-69, its biggest lead of the game.

``The rotation works, the matchups work,'' May said. ``Everybody was pretty comfortable in the game lineup. Everybody's starting to put this thing together. It's taking some time, but we'll build off this.''

Notes: The Magic had four players on the bench in street clothes due to various injuries. Hill (knee tendinitis) is day-to-day, and Nelson (strained right groin) and Turkoglu (sprained right ankle) are out indefinitely. Reserve guard/forward Keith Bogans (sprained right ankle) is also out indefinitely. ... Orlando rookie guard J.J. Redick scored five points in his first game in North Carolina since winning AP Player of the Year honors with Duke last season. ``There were definitely some Duke supporters out there,'' said Redick, who received boos and cheers every time he entered the game.


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