Charlotte 119, Orlando 108

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 12 (AP) -- Grant Hill talked softly in a nearly silent locker room after the Orlando Magic made the Charlotte Bobcats look like an offensive juggernaut.

"The Bobcats played like they were the team fighting for the playoffs,'' said Hill in a near whisper. "We looked like the team that was out of it.''

Derek Anderson had 24 points and 10 assists and strong-shooting Charlotte snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 119-108 win over the struggling Magic on Monday night.

Raymond Felton added 21 points and Gerald Wallace had 20 points and nine assists for the Bobcats, who had a team-record 14 3-pointers and 39 assists.

"Thirty-nine assists on 42 field goals, that's pretty efficient,'' Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said.

Charlotte, which came in with the third-worst record in the NBA, had its way with the Magic, who have lost three straight and 10 of 12. Orlando, which is 16-32 since starting 13-4, fell a full game behind idle New York for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference amid speculation about coach Brian Hill's future.

"Our failure tonight was our inability to play anyone off the dribble,'' Hill said. "They went wherever they wanted to go with the ball.''

Dwight Howard had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic, but 13 of his points came in the fourth quarter when the game was decided. Hedo Turkoglu added 23 points, but the Magic didn't dominant the inside despite what appeared like a big advantage inside going into the game.

Charlotte played its eighth straight game without leading rebounder and shot blocker Emeka Okafor (strained left calf), who normally guards Howard. But Howard took only 11 shots and missed nine free throws.

Howard also struggled on defense. Primoz Brezec scored 17 points on 8 of 13 shooting in his highest scoring game in nearly three months and only his seventh game in double figures this season.

"I think it was about time that I did something for this team,'' said Brezec, who has missed 21 games due to illness and a back injury. "It's tough after everything I went through. I'm just trying to stay positive and get above 26 wins, which we accomplished last year.''

Sean May, in his second game back from a bone bruise in his right knee, added 14 points for the Bobcats, who shot 56 percent - including 14 of 22 from 3-point range.

"We shared the ball,'' said Anderson, who was 4-for-7 on 3-pointers. "You didn't see us holding it a whole lot. You didn't see many isolations. For the most part we were swinging it. Guys were cutting and we made shots.''

It was a dramatic improvement from the last meeting with Orlando, when the Bobcats scored 74 points and shot 29 percent in a 32-point loss. But the Magic no longer resemble the team that led the Eastern Conference in the first month of the season.

Charlotte, which lost at home to NBA-worst Memphis on Saturday, was never threatened and took the lead for good in the second minute. Wallace scored 11 points in the first quarter and May scored 10 in the second as the Bobcats built a 62-49 halftime lead on 57 percent shooting.

Felton's 3-pointer early in the third quarter made it 70-53, and Charlotte took its first 20-point lead on Adam Morrison's 3 late in the quarter, securing a 2-2 season split against the listless Magic.

"They had the hot hand, but we still had a lot of plays on the defensive side where we didn't step up, or rotate, or communicate with each other,'' Howard said.

"We've just got to play. We've got to play with confidence, I think that's the biggest thing. We have to do that in order to win games and make the playoffs.''

Notes: Wallace picked up his 12th technical foul of the season early in the fourth quarter when he shoved Pat Garrity after he committed a hard foul on him. Four more technicals and Wallace will be suspended for a game. ... Bobcats G Brevin Knight, plagued by injuries all season, left in the second quarter with a strained left groin and did not return. ... Showing there are still more North Carolina fans than Duke supporters here, Magic guard and former Blue Devil J.J. Redick was booed the first time he touched the ball late in the second quarter, then jeered when he threw up an air ball seconds later.

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