Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/6

Game 1: Saturday, November 6th
Game 2: Friday, January 7th
Game 3: Monday, March 21st
Game 4: Thursday, March 24th

Magic 97

(32-35, 11-25 away)

Bobcats 102

(13-52, 11-21 home)

7:00 PM ET, March 21, 2005

Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC

1 2 3 4 T
ORL 31 24 18 2497
CHA 24 20 28 30102

Top Performers

Orl: G. Hill 25 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Cha: B. Knight 19 Pts, 3 Reb, 8 Ast, 3 Stl

Knight delivers big shot to lift Bobcats

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Grant Hill sat with his head buried in his hands for almost 10 minutes. All around him, his Orlando Magic teammates seemed to be in a similar state of disbelief.

Blowing a 16-point lead against the expansion Charlotte Bobcats will do that.

The Bobcats rallied in the second half, and got a running jumper from Brevin Knight with 12.4 seconds to play to break their 10-game losing streak with a 102-97 victory over the Magic on Monday night.

The loss seemed to devastate the Magic, who dropped a half-game behind Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"It's frustrating, but we're going to get to the playoffs," Dwight Howard vowed. "We've got 15 more games left. We can't let any more slip away like this."

The Magic went into the game without Steve Francis, who was suspended three games by the NBA earlier Monday for kicking a photographer last week. He sat out his first game on Saturday -- an Orlando win -- but the Magic couldn't make it two in a row without their star guard.

It made for a long night for interim coach Chris Jent, who dropped to 1-1 since taking over after Johnny Davis was fired last week amid a seven-game losing streak.

"They kept playing. They outplayed us," Jent said. "It takes a lot of commitment to play 48 minutes. We gave a great effort, but we played a half of basketball and that's not enough."

The Bobcats got a lift from Knight, who carried them to the win while playing with five fouls.

Charlotte led just 97-95 after Hill made a pair of free throws with 31 seconds to play. The Bobcats called a timeout to draw up a play for Knight, who patiently dribbled at the top of the key while the clock ticked away.

He then beat Jameer Nelson off the dribble, and scored over 6-foot-11 Howard -- no easy task for the diminutive 5-10 Knight. Nelson was called for a foul and Knight made the free throw for a 100-95 lead with 12.4 seconds left.

"I knew once I got the step on him that he'd have to body and foul. The next thing was just trying to concentrate and get the ball up to the rim," Knight said. "It went in so it turned out to be a good play for us."

After DeShawn Stevenson scored for the Magic, they fouled Knight, who hit both his free throws to lock up the win.

Knight finished with 19 points, eight assists and three steals.

"He's a floor general," said Emeka Okafor, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds. "He can go out there and score when he needs to. He thinks pass first, shoot second, but he can hit the shot when he needs to."

Primoz Brezec scored 16 points and Matt Carroll and Bernard Robinson had 12 each for the Bobcats.

Hill led Orlando with 25 points and Howard had 21 points and 13 rebounds -- but he scored just two points in the second half.

Nelson finished with 18 points and Hedo Turkoglu scored all 11 of his in the second half.

Charlotte lost Keith Bogans late in the first half when he fell to the floor and had to be helped off the court with back spasms that sidelined him the rest of the game.

Also injured was Carroll, who collided with Stevenson in the first half and left the game with a split lip that needed stitches. He returned in time to replace Bogans in the starting lineup at the start of the second half.

Game notes

As coach of four different NBA teams, Bernie Bickerstaff can relate to recent rash of NBA firings. "That's pro sports. You don't like it, you don't have to work in the business," Charlotte's coach said. "You are all right as long as you don't take yourself too seriously." ... Turkoglu injured his back late in the fourth quarter, but continued to play, wincing with just about every move. .. Orlando general manager John Weisbrod was stopped by Charlotte Coliseum security for the second time this season. In a November visit here, Weisbrod was questioned because security found him nervously pacing around the parking lot after the Magic fell behind.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 97 102
FGM-FGA 35-79 (.443) 37-83 (.446)
3PM-3PA 0-1 (.000) 5-9 (.556)
FTM-FTA 27-35 (.771) 23-36 (.639)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-46 14-50
Assists 15 23
Turnovers 15 14
Steals 2 7
Blocks 5 7
Fast Break Points 22 24
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 28 (0/0)
Largest Lead 16 8

Top Performers

Grant Hill Hill
Points: 25
Reb: 9
Ast: 1
Stl: 1
Blk: 1
Brevin Knight Knight
Points: 19
Reb: 3
Ast: 8
Stl: 3
Blk: 0