FINAL (OT): ORLANDO MAGIC 111, CHARLOTTE BOBCATS 102


GameNight Specifics
NBA Coverage: Game Info
Date: Wednesday, April 6
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Time Warner Cable Arena (CHARLOTTE, NC)
Radio: AM 580 WDBO, AM 1270 WRLZ
Television: FS Florida



PROJECTED MATCHUPS

LINEUPS MAY CHANGE BY GAME TIME


TEAM
PG
SG
C
PF
SF
R
R
MAGIC
Jameer Nelson

Jason Richardson

Dwight Howard

Brandon Bass

Hedo Turkoglu

Ryan Anderson

Quentin Richardson
BOBCATS
DJ Augustin

Gerald Henderson

Kwame Brown

Boris Diaw

Dante Cunningham

Tyrus Thomas

Matt Carroll





















GAME RECAP


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Gilbert Arenas scored 25 points, and the Orlando Magic overcame Quentin Richardson's ejection and Dwight Howard's 18th technical foul to beat Charlotte 111-102 in overtime on Wednesday night and eliminate the Bobcats from playoff contention.

Jameer Nelson atoned for two turnovers in the closing seconds of regulation by hitting a jumper and banking in a 3-pointer in Orlando's 12-2 run to open the extra period. Brandon Bass added 19 points for the Magic, who secured their fourth consecutive 50-win season.

A year after sweeping the Bobcats in the first round of the playoffs, Orlando ended Charlotte's postseason hopes and allowed Indiana to clinch the final Eastern Conference spot.

Gerald Henderson scored a career-high 32 points for the Bobcats and was the receiving end of Richardson's two-handed shove to the face early in the fourth quarter that could earn Richardson a suspension.

Howard, who had 15 points, seven rebounds and six blocks, is facing another one-game suspension - for Sunday's showdown with East-leading Chicago - for again failing to control his temper.

The Bobcats played a fourth straight game - all losses - without top scorer Stephen Jackson, who told coach Paul Silas he was going to play, but then couldn't get his troublesome left hamstring loose in pregame warmups.

After blowing an 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Bobcats staged a dramatic comeback and nearly won it in regulation to stay alive in the playoff chase for another day.

With Orlando ahead 96-93, Henderson stole Nelson's deflected pass, leading to D.J. Augustin's tying 3-point attempt with 16 seconds left.

After a timeout, Nelson ran down the clock until Augustin pickpocketed him. He drove in for the winning layup, but Nelson made him go to the opposite side of the hoop, and the ball rolled off the rim at the buzzer.

The Magic quickly ended the suspense by scoring the first nine points of OT for their eighth straight win over Charlotte.

The Magic, who have already locked up the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, sat guard Jason Richardson. Coach Stan Van Gundy said Richardson needs some time off because of tendinitis in his left knee.

And after another sluggish performance, Howard and Quentin Richardson may be facing forced time off.

The good news for the Magic involved Arenas, who started and scored the most points since being acquired by Orlando earlier this season. He shot 9 of 14, but struggled to contain Henderson at the other end.

Henderson shattered his previous career high of 22 points by hitting 12 of 22 shots while shaking off Richardson's actions.

Henderson was trying to dribble out of pressure early in the fourth quarter when Richardson was called for a foul. Apparently upset over an elbow from Henderson earlier in the play, Richardson confronted Henderson and appeared to poke him in his right eye.

Henderson shoved him to get away before Richardson put both open hands on Henderson's face and jerked his head backward.

Howard's trouble stems from taking too long to shoot a free throw.

Referee Bennett Salvatore hit Howard with a rare 10-second violation before a second foul shot late in the second quarter. As the crowd jeered, Howard tossed the ball toward the baseline and away from any official and Salvatore hit him with a technical and ensuing suspension if it's upheld.

The Bobcats shot 57 percent from the field and led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but couldn't hold on as owner Michael Jordan watched the franchise eliminated from the playoff race for the sixth time in seven seasons.

Notes: Van Gundy said Jason Richardson has been playing in pain for some time. "We targeted this time because we're going to take a couple days off after this game and he can get now three straight days of rest," Van Gundy said. ... Silas said tests showed Thomas has not sustained more damage to his surgically repaired left knee and the swelling has subsided, but he remains in too much pain to play. "He has to decide that himself - if he can go," Silas said. ... While Silas had high praise for Howard, he thinks Chicago's Derrick Rose should get the nod for league MVP.





DENTON'S RECAP AT BOBCATS


A sleepy, relatively meaningless game in Charlotte on Wednesday night awoke the Orlando Magic’s competitive spirits, but it will ultimately prove to be quite costly.

Superstar center Dwight Howard picked up his 18th technical foul of the season which will likely result in him being suspended for Sunday’s game against Chicago, while Quentin Richardson was ejected for a two-handed shove to the face of Bobcats’ guard Gerald Henderson. Richardson, who was ejected midway through the fourth quarter, will also likely be suspended for the Magic’s next game.

The ugly moments marred Orlando’s 111-102 overtime defeat of Charlotte and its 50th victory of the season, a milestone the franchise has hit for four consecutive seasons and a seventh time in franchise history. The Magic (50-29) are locked into the No. 4 seed and likely headed for a first-round playoff showdown against the Atlanta Hawks.

Charlotte point guard D.J. Augustin forced overtime by making a 3-pointer with 16.6 seconds remaining in regulation. But a Magic team playing on the second night of a back-to-back took command in the extra period, making six of seven shots to pull away for the victory.

Gilbert Arenas scored 25 points and drilled six 3-pointers, one of which came to open the overtime period. Jameer Nelson had 18 points and nine assists with five points and two assists coming in the extra frame.

Brandon Bass finished with 19 points and eight rebounds and played flawlessly in the fourth quarter and overtime. Turkoglu added 17 points and seven rebounds, while Howard scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked six shots.

``This is great. I got my 50th win for the first time in my career,’’ said Arenas, who played on mostly bad teams in Golden State and Washington prior to being traded to Orlando on Dec. 18. ``This is a great win for us because we hung in there. There were times when it looked like we were going to give up, but we just kept fighting, kept making shots and hung in there as a team.’’

The Magic improved to 4-0 on the season against the Bobcats and 18-2 in the past four seasons against their Southeast Division rivals. That doesn’t even include last spring’s four-game sweep of the Bobcats in the first round of the playoffs. Charlotte was eliminated from contention for a playoff spot with Wednesday’s loss.

But the bad news is that Howard frustratingly rolled the ball away from the officials after being whistled for a second 10-second violation at the free throw line in as many nights. The 18th technical foul will result in a second one-game suspension for the Magic’s superstar center on Sunday and it could hamper his hopes to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

``He got upset on a call. I have no idea of if anybody knows if he was upset at himself or upset at the referee,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``When (the referee) was first blowing the whistle I thought he was calling a delay of game, but he called the technical on Dwight. We’ll have to see what the league says about it. If he’s suspended, then he doesn’t play on Sunday.’’

Here is a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from Orlando’s fourth and final game against Charlotte for the season:

READ THE REST OF DENTON'S ANALYSIS





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