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CHARLOTTE (NBA.com exclusive) -- The Orlando Magic again showed their depth and versatility.
Vince Carter scored 21 points while Jameer Nelson added 18 including a key basket late in the game to pick up a 99-90 win Monday. With the win, Orlando becomes the only team in the 2010 playoffs to earn a first-round sweep while the Bobcats failed to pick up a victory in the franchise's first-ever playoff appearance.
"That was a very difficult series," Stan Van Gundy said. "We struggled to score points and get shots. They had a great game plan in the series and both teams played extremely hard. I was proud of our intensity and resolve."
Nelson highlighted a 10-0 Orlando run with a three from the top of the key with 4:53 remaining, giving the Magic an 86-76 lead and effectively sapping all the remaining energy from both Time Warner Cable Arena and the Charlotte Bobcats season. The Orlando point guard finished with a series-best 23.8 ppg picking up some offensive slack from his Magic teammates.
Charlotte had cut the lead to a single point at 77-76, but the Magic again proved to be deadly from behind the arc. Mickael Pietrus drained threes on back-to-back possessions to squash the Bobcats momentum. Orlando sank a series-best 13 from behind the arc and made 45 over the four games in the series.
The Bobcats tried to make another run early in the fourth quarter but were stymied by an unusual set of fouls. Carter was fouled by Tyson Chandler. The Charlotte center was actually whistled for both a personal foul and a flagrant foul on the play. Carter made the two free throws, but the Magic was unable to capitalize allowing Charlotte to stay in the game.
The Magic took the lead for good in the final game of the series at the 9:09 mark of the third. Carter sank his first three of the series after missing his first 15. He finished the series 1-for-17 from the three-point line.
The Bobcats game plan all series was to frustrate and attack Dwight Howard. The Magic center became increasingly frustrated during the series and was limited to just 27 minutes and 9.8 points per game, and fouled out for the second straight game.
"If you had told me that (Dwight Howard) would have averaged well under 30 minutes for the series and gotten a sweep I would have said that there was no way that could have happened," Van Gundy quipped.
Orlando now has the opportunity to get some rest before hosting either Atlanta or Milwaukee in the second round while the Bobcats have a lot to learn from their first visit to the playoffs.
"They are a great team," Brown said. "They are really well coached and they aren't one dimensional. A lot of players really stepped up for them. They know how to play playoff basketball and we're still learning. We have a lot of guys that were in this for the first time. We have to have a group step up and play at a high level. Not just one or two guys each night. They never quit and we played hard."
One question that will remain for the Charlotte franchise is the status of Coach Brown. Rumors of his desire to take a front office job with either Philadelphia or the Los Angeles Clippers have persisted since before the All-Star break.
"I'm not coaching anywhere else but Charlotte," Brown reiterated. "Now am I going to go home and talk to my wife? I'm almost 70 and I've got two young kids. Am I going to talk to them and find out what I need to do and am I going to talk to Michael (Jordan)? Yeah, absolutely. But I'm not coaching anywhere unless it's for Michael Jordan if he wants me and I can work it out with my family."
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CHARLOTTE -- The Orlando Magic have one ultimate goal: Capture their first NBA championship in franchise history.
Along their journey, however, are other accomplishments to aim for.
Sweeping an opponent in a seven-game series for the first time in club history, for example, is an excellent ambition to have. The Magic will try to achieve this goal on Monday at 8 p.m. ET when they clash with the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 4 of their First Round series.
Orlando has swept a team only once – a 3-0 thrashing of the Detroit Pistons during the 1996 NBA Playoffs when the opening round was only a best of five.
The Magic will also attempt to be the only NBA team this season to earn a sweep in the First Round. But undoubtedly, Orlando expects Charlotte to play like a desperate team.
“It is not going to be easy,” Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said about Game 4. “We respect the team we are playing. We have to play a lot harder if we want to win and close out the series.”
Orlando has relied on the extraordinary play of Jameer Nelson, who twice this series has erupted for 32 points and has only committed three turnovers in the three games combined.
Despite leading the series 3-0, Dwight Howard and Vince Carter have not performed like they are accustomed to. Superman fouled out late in the fourth quarter in Game 3 and has not recorded a double-double yet in the series. Carter, meanwhile, has shot 13-of-40 from the field in the three games combined.
Before marching on to the conference semifinals, it would be inspirational for each of them to have a monster game.
D12, nonetheless, is not concerned about his statistics. He is focused exclusively on the team and the ultimate goal.
“I understand that I am playing for something bigger than myself and I can’t allow that (foul trouble) to frustrate me or let it frustrate my teammates,” Howard said.
With Howard in and out of the game with foul issues, Marcin Gortat has elevated his play. The Polish Hammer drained three critical free throws in the final 15 seconds of Game 3.
“For a series like this he is great,” Van Gundy said. “If you don’t have a quality back-up like Gortat, clearly you are going to get more of a drop-off.”
If the Magic win Monday and advance to the Second Round for the third straight season, they will await the winner of the Hawks-Bucks series. Heading into Monday’s playoff action, Atlanta held a 2-1 advantage in the series.
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2010 NBA Playoffs – First Round vs. Charlotte: Orlando is 14-8 all-time vs. Charlotte (8-2 at home, 6-6 on the road), including 3-1 this season (see recaps below)…Orlando went 4-0 last season against Charlotte…The Magic have won 11 of the last 13 meetings overall…The Bobcats recorded their first win in franchise history over the Magic on Nov. 6, 2004 (111-100)...Vince Carter played collegiately at the University of North Carolina…J.J. Redick played collegiately at Duke University…For last season’s stats and Magic career numbers vs. Charlotte, see p. 240 of the media guide…Nov. 10 @ Charlotte – Magic 93, Bobcats 81: Dwight Howard and Vince Carter each scored 15 points, as Orlando defeated Charlotte, 93-81, at Time Warner Cable Arena. Howard also tallied 10 rebounds and a team-high six assists. Brandon Bass added 14 points for the Magic. Raymond Felton led the Bobcats and all scorers with 18 points. Orlando held Charlotte to 44.2 percent shooting from the floor and forced 17 turnovers. The Magic put the game out of reach by opening the fourth quarter with an 11-4 run and holding the Bobcats to just 10 points in the final frame…Nov. 16 vs. Charlotte – Magic 97, Bobcats 91: Seven Magic players scored in double figures, led by Jameer Nelson’s 16 points, as Orlando defeated Charlotte, 97-91, at a sold-out Amway Arena. Vince Carter netted 15 points for the Magic, while Dwight Howard tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds. Flip Murray led the Bobcats with a career-high-tying 31 points. Charlotte led 52-50 at halftime after shooting 59 percent from the floor. The Magic tightened things up during the third quarter and outscored the Bobcats, 26-16, to take a 76-68 lead heading into the final stanza. Leading 90-87, Carter drained a long three-pointer from the left wing with 53.1 seconds left to seal the victory for the Magic…Jan. 23 @ Charlotte – Magic 106, Bobcats 95 (OT): Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson each poured in a team-high 21 points, as Orlando defeated Charlotte in overtime, 106-95, at Time Warner Cable Arena. All five Magic starters scored in double figures. Dwight Howard tallied 10 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocked shots. D.J. Augustin paced the Bobcats with 22 points off the bench. Orlando led by as many as 16 points during the second half, but could not put Charlotte away. The Bobcats outscored the Magic during the fourth quarter, 33-23, and tied the score at 92 on a layup by Stephen Jackson with 1.2 seconds left. In the extra session, the Magic dominated, outscoring Charlotte, 14-3. It was the third win for the Magic in as many meetings with the Bobcats…Mar. 14 vs. Charlotte – Bobcats 96, Magic 89: Stephen Jackson poured in 28 points, as Charlotte defeated Orlando, 96-89, at a sold-out Amway Arena. The loss snapped the Magic’s season-high eight-game winning streak. Raymond Felton tallied 16 points and seven assists for the Bobcats. Dwight Howard recorded 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Magic, while Vince Carter scored 23 points and Mickael Pietrus added 20. Orlando led 53-51 at halftime, but was held to just 36 points during the second half. The Bobcats outrebounded the Magic, 46-34, and forced 15 turnovers en route to their sixth straight win. Orlando shot just 39.4 percent during the second half.
BEST ALL-TIME SCORING PERFORMANCE VS. BOBCATS: 45 pts., Dwight Howard (@ Orlando, 2-17-09)
BEST ALL-TIME SCORING PERFORMANCE VS. MAGIC: 36 pts., Gerald Wallace (@ Charlotte, 1-16-08)
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