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Bobcats 91, Magic 80

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Charlotte Bobcats hold off Orlando, cut ‘magic number’ to 1

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/04/21/57/XVJmw.Em.138.jpeg|414
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Bobcats forward/center Bismack Biyombo (0) throws down a two-handed dunk against the Orlando Magic during Friday’s game at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. The Bobcats defeated the Magic 91-80.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/04/21/57/5mC8c.Em.138.jpeg|304
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Bobcats Al Jefferson (25) questions a foul and technical he received from referee Karl Lane during Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. The Bobcats defeated the Magic 91-80.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/04/21/40/1jV2da.Em.138.jpeg|242
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Bobcats Kemba Walker (15) drives to the basket vs the Orlando Magic.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/04/21/40/YOMlm.Em.138.jpeg|221
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Bobcats Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) lays on the court in pain after falling hard on a drive to the basket during Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. Kidd-Gilchrist laid on the floor for several minutes before being helped back to the training room. He was diagnosed with a bruised back and ended up starting the third quarter.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/04/21/40/16IuvC.Em.138.jpeg|343
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford questions referee Zach Zarba (28) as to why a foul was not called when Bobcats Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) fell hard to the floor on a drive to the basket during Friday’s game.

Usually it’s point guard Kemba Walker’s job to assist center Al Jefferson. This time it was the other way around.

Jefferson heard Walker scream, “I’ve got this one!” on a late-game rebound. Jefferson wasn’t sure what all the urgency was about until after the Charlotte Bobcats’ 91-80 home victory over the Orlando Magic.

Walker needed that rebound to complete the second triple-double of his NBA career.

“Ohhhh,” Jefferson joked of Walker’s board, “so that’s why you’re interfering with my business!”

There’s a lot of post-game levity in the Bobcats’ locker room these days. It’s a very different place from the previous two seasons, when this team went 21-120. Now they’re back at .500 (38-38) for the first time since late November and within striking distance of their second playoff berth in franchise history.

Though the seventh-place Bobcats won, they didn’t pick up any ground on the sixth-place Washington Wizards, who beat the Knicks in New York. But .500 this late in a season (the second time in franchise history) still felt good.

“We fought hard to get here,” said Walker, who suffered through the 7-59 season as a rookie.

Walker finished with 13 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. One of the first things coach Steve Clifford told Walker and fellow guard Gerald Henderson last summer was they had to rebound better for this team to succeed.

“If I can help rebound,” said the 6-1 Walker, “I think it makes the bigs’ jobs easier.”

This game should have been easier than the last 15 minutes turned out. The Bobcats had as much as a 21-point lead, but the Magic (21-55) whittled that down to seven. Though Orlando was missing center Nikola Vucevic (sore Achilles tendon), the Bobcats struggled to defend Magic guards Victor Oladipo (21 points) and Jameer Nelson (11). Those two combined to make 13 of 29 shots.

“We have struggled with these guys for whatever reason,” Clifford said of the Magic splitting four games this season with the Bobcats.

The Bobcats lost in overtime in Orlando last week, a setback that troubled Jefferson.

“No disrespect to them, but that’s a game we should have won,” said Jefferson, who finished Friday with 29 points and 16 rebounds. “We gave it away.”

Friday they overcame some adversity. They again played without power forward Josh McRoberts (ankle sprain), who will also miss Saturday’s road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. During the first half small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist fell dangerously to the floor after a collision with the Magic’s Dewayne Dedmon. Kidd-Gilchrist bruised his back but played in the second half.

“I think he’s fine,” Clifford said post-game. “He’s sore and there was some bruising. So unless it tightens up (overnight) I think he’ll be fine.”

BOBCATS 91, MAGIC 80

OrlandoMINFG-AFT-AOR-TRAFPt
Harklss30:551-30-00-3112
O’Qnn29:385-200-02-61410
Nichlsn13:110-10-01-3040
Nelsn21:275-110-01-27111
Affllo23:062-104-41-3018
Harrs31:285-124-52-81315
Ddmn18:222-53-55-8047
Oldpo30:228-184-42-62421
Moore20:363-70-00-2216
Lamb20:550-00-00-2120
Totals24031-8715-1814-43152580

Percentages: FG .356, FT .833. Three-Point Goals: 3-11, .273 (Harris 1-2, Nelson 1-3, Oladipo 1-3, Harkless 0-1, Afflalo 0-2). Team Rebounds: 6. Team Turnovers: 13 (15 PTS). Blocked Shots: 10 (O’Quinn 5, Harkless 3, Harris, Moore). Turnovers: 13 (Harris 2, Moore 2, O’Quinn 2, Oladipo 2, Afflalo, Dedmon, Harkless, Lamb, Nelson). Steals: 8 (O’Quinn 3, Harkless 2, Oladipo 2, Harris).

CharlotteMINFG-AFT-AOR-TRAFPt
K.-Glcst16:460-30-00-2100
Zeller24:472-44-61-4028
Jeffrsn36:4513-243-34-160129
Walkr34:495-152-22-1010213
Hendsn22:532-73-30-3257
Ridnr13:111-20-00-0122
Neal25:074-103-30-32112
D.-Rbts31:141-53-40-3315
Tollver23:134-71-21-21113
Bymbo11:151-10-01-3002
Totals24033-7819-239-46201591

Percentages: FG .423, FT .826. Three-Point Goals: 6-16, .375 (Tolliver 4-5, Walker 1-1, Neal 1-4, Jefferson 0-1, Henderson 0-2, Douglas-Roberts 0-3). Team Rebounds: 13. Team Turnovers: 15 (12 PTS). Blocked Shots: 7 (Biyombo 2, Henderson 2, Zeller 2, Jefferson). Turnovers: 14 (Walker 4, Henderson 3, Jefferson 2, Neal 2, Zeller 2, Douglas-Roberts). Steals: 5 (Douglas-Roberts, Henderson, Kidd-Gilchrist, Ridnour, Walker). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 4:45 second; Defensive three second, 8:51 third; Jefferson, 0:50.9 third.

Orlando1917242080
Charlotte2033191991

Att.—17,708 (19,077). T—2:06.

Officials—Zach Zarba, Karl Lane, James Williams.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell
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