Orlando at Charlotte

Magic hold off Bobcats after losing Carter to injury

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Even when the Orlando Magic get to play a road game there are problems with the court.

Vince Carter's scary fall on a slippery spot in the final minutes and his subsequent strained right hip flexor injury overshadowed the Magic's first road victory of the season, a 91-88 escape against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

"It was a needless injury and that's what [ticks] me off," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Dwight Howard had 22 points and eight rebounds, Rashard Lewis scored 22 points and the Magic withstood Charlotte's furious comeback when Boris Diaw and D.J. Augustin missed tying 3-point attempts in the closing seconds.

But once again the court was the overriding focus for the Magic, who overcame Jameer Nelson sitting out with a sprained ankle to win their first road game of the season in a rematch of last season's first-round playoff series.

The Magic saw their final exhibition game in Tampa, Fla., postponed because of a slippery court. A game Tuesday at New York was postponed after safety concerns when debris fell into the arena during overnight cleaning of asbestos-related materials.

This time it appeared to be a simple sweat spot that felled Carter, who slipped trying to cut while dribbling with just under two minutes left. Carter was face down for several minutes before gingerly walking off the court.

Van Gundy, upset the wet spot hadn't been wiped up earlier, was hit with a technical foul. Carter declined to discuss the severity of his injury.

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"I don't know," Van Gundy said of Carter's status. "He was pretty hurt and wasn't coming back into that game."

After trailing by 18 in the third quarter, the Bobcats got within 89-88 on Stephen Jackson's driving layup with 32 seconds left as Carter was getting treated. Quentin Richardson answered with a runner in the lane with 9.8 seconds to go.

Diaw and Augustin then missed 3-pointers, thwarting Charlotte's comeback bid.

Gerald Wallace had 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Bobcats, who have dropped five of their first six games and were again done in by a slow start.

"We don't have a sense of urgency until we're down," Wallace said. "We should come out and attack teams. We should have teams on their toes, and we don't do that until we're down 20 or we're down 15."

Jackson, fined $50,000 on Saturday for berating the officials a night earlier in a loss to Detroit, added 16 points. But he was only 7 for 19 from the field and had four of Charlotte's 16 turnovers.

Richardson added 14 points and Orlando overcame 41 percent shooting and injury woes.

Nelson twisted his left ankle Friday late in a victory against New Jersey and didn't dress.

"It's getting better and I'm just trying to get as much treatment as I can before the next game and see how it feels then," Nelson said. "There is no timetable."

Nelson, who dominated ex-Charlotte guard Raymond Felton in a four-game playoff sweep last spring, was limping noticeably before the game. Van Gundy started Chris Duhon at point guard and Richardson started ahead of Ryan Anderson, but the Magic leaned heavily on Howard early.

After benching center Nazr Mohammed for the entire second half Friday, Charlotte coach Larry Brown started him and, at first, was not giving him help on Howard.

Howard immediately hit two half hooks before Augustin provided help and Howard hit a jumper over the double team.

Orlando built a 28-17 lead with the help of the familiar theme for Charlotte: turnovers.

From illegal screens, bad passes and poor spacing, the NBA's lowest-scoring team seemed out of it when Lewis got hot.

He hit three 3-pointers in a 96-second span midway through the third quarter to put Orlando ahead 63-45. But the Bobcats again clawed back before struggling on their final possession.

Jackson bobbled the ball near the top of the circle before finding Diaw on the right wing. His rushed 3 barely hit the front of the rim and went off the baseline off the Magic with 0.8 seconds left.

But the Bobcats struggled to get the ball inbounds, and Augustin's desperation attempt from the right corner missed at the buzzer, leaving owner Michael Jordan's team 0-2 at home.

"Our younger guys are getting better," Brown said. "I just don't want them to lose confidence."

Notes

  • Van Gundy was hopeful Nelson would play Monday against Atlanta.
  • Van Gundy said he would continue to tinker with the starting lineup until he feels "comfortable" with a combination. "Everybody on this roster is alive and important," he said.
  • The crowd, apparently loaded with North Carolina fans, booed Magic guard and ex-Duke star J.J. Redick every time he touched the ball.
  • Brown said center Kwame Brown (ankle) is "getting closer" to returning from a severe ankle sprain.
  • Rapper Nelly, a Bobcats part-owner, sat courtside.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Dwight Howard puts up a 22-point, 8-board night as the Magic hold off Charlotte. (Getty Images)
Dwight Howard puts up a 22-point, 8-board night as the Magic hold off Charlotte. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Orlando 4-1 «2320301891
Charlotte 1-51521262688
ORL:R. Lewis 22 Pts
ORL:D. Howard 8 Reb
ORL:C. Duhon 9 Ast
CHA:G. Wallace 25 Pts
CHA:G. Wallace 14 Reb
CHA:D. Augustin 8 Ast
Players of the Game
CharlotteOrlando

G. Wallace

D. Howard
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
251422284
Orlando
V. Carter, SG364-112-454110
R. Lewis, PF348-131-160022
D. Howard, C318-156-1084522
Q. Richardson, SG365-171-231114
C. Duhon, PG342-60-03904
M. Pietrus, SG171-40-03003
M. Gortat, PF173-50-06016
J. Williams, PG141-40-00103
B. Bass, PF142-43-43227
J. Redick, SG70-30-00110
J. Nelson, PGDid Not Play
R. Anderson, PFDid Not Play
M. Allen, PFDid Not Play
D. Orton, CDid Not Play
Totals 34-8213-2137221191
 41.5%61.9% 
Charlotte
G. Wallace, SF439-153-4142025
S. Jackson, SF417-190-026316
B. Diaw, PF373-80-05226
D. Augustin, PG334-81-13839
N. Mohammed, C225-92-250312
S. Livingston, PG172-50-00124
T. Thomas, PF153-44-440410
D. Diop, C120-20-03240
G. Henderson, SG112-20-03104
D. Brown, SF91-30-01012
E. Najera, PFDid Not Play
K. Brown, CDid Not Play
M. Carroll, SGDid Not Play
D. McGuire, PFDid Not Play
S. Collins, PGDid Not Play
Totals 36-7510-1140222288
 48.0%90.9% 
Other Games
Cle 107 Final
Wash 102
NJ 89 Final
Mia 101
NO 87 Final
Mil 81
Hou 121 Final
SA 124
Den 103 Final
Dal 92
LAC 107 Final
Utah 109
Tor 84 Final
Port 97
Mem 100 Final
Sac 91