CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rashard Lewis is already confident in the Orlando Magic's offense.
But the Magic showed him that they can play a little defense as well, rallying in the second half to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 94-84 on Thursday.
Lewis scored 26 points, Dwight Howard 15 and Keith Bogans 14 for Orlando, which overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to win its third consecutive NBA preseason game.
"This year, we have a lot more experience," said Lewis, who joined the Magic last season after nine years with Seattle. "I think as a whole, we are trying to play better on the defensive end. We are a great offensive team, we just need to focus more on the defensive side.
"We want to have a better season than we had last year. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win the NBA championship, but there's still some things we need to work on."
Gerald Wallace had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats before coming out of the game in the fourth quarter with a lower back contusion.
Jason Richardson and Sean May added 11 points each and Emeka Okafor 10 for Charlotte, which shot 29.4 percent from the field over the final two quarters to remain winless in four exhibition games.
"We played well the first half, but the second half is something I don't get real excited about," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said. "We settled for jump shots and couldn't get back in transition, and they made open shots."
With Orlando down 51-38 at the half, Lewis scored 14 points during a 23-11 run in the third quarter to pull the Magic within 62-61 with 3:19 left.
Orlando then tied the score at 67-67 on Mike Wilks' layup with 1:02 remaining, and took the lead on Courtney Lee's jumper 22 seconds later.
"We made defensive mistakes, and we had no energy," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said of the first half. "In the second half ... we really competed hard defensively. I didn't think there was a guy who played in the second half who didn't play well."
Orlando took its first double-digit lead midway through the fourth quarter, going up 80-69 on Jameer Nelson's jumper with 7:21 remaining.
However, the Bobcats rallied to pull within five points three times, the last at 87-82 on Shannon Brown's jumper with 2:21 left. But Jeremy Richardson hit a jumper, followed by Bogans' 3-pointer, to push the Magic's lead back into double digits.
"They were in synch and we weren't," Charlotte point guard Raymond Felton said. "We could have played a little better defense, but they were hitting shots, catching breaks and making transition buckets. Once you get down to a team like that, it's hard to come back."
It was a different story in the first half -- the Bobcats hit five of their first nine shots to pull ahead early in the first quarter, going up 10-3 on Felton's jumper with 8:18 left. But Orlando fought back, tying the score three times before leading 22-21 at the end of the period.
The Magic increased their lead to 25-21 early in the second quarter on Bogans' 3-pointer, but the Bobcats rallied, tying the game at 33-33 on Richardson's hook shot with 7:45 left, then pulling ahead for good on a Jared Dudley free throw 15 seconds later.
Charlotte, behind six points from Wallace and five from May, then closed out the quarter with a 17-5 run to go ahead by 13 points at the break.
Two Orlando players sat out the Charlotte game because of injuries. Forward Tony Battie is day to day with a fractured left ring finger, and guard Anthony Johnson did not dress due to an abrasion on his left eye. The Magic also lost forward Hedo Turkoglu to a right groin strain in the first quarter, and Wilks to an undisclosed injury in the fourth quarter ... Wilks was scheduled to have an MRI either Thursday night or Friday morning to determine the extent of the injury. ... Thursday morning's game was the Bobcats' fifth-annual Cool School Field Trip, which drew more than 10,000 middle-school students from 75 schools in 20 counties in North and South Carolina.
|Orlando (2-1) «||22||16||31||25||94|
Orlando Magic Black Vibe Full Zip Track Jacket
$79.95 Shop Now!