Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/15

Game 1: Tuesday, November 15th
Game 2: Saturday, January 7th
Game 3: Friday, January 20th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 21st

Bobcats 77

(2-6, 1-3 away)

Magic 85

(3-4, 1-3 home)

    Coverage: NE14

    7:00 PM ET, November 15, 2005

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHA 20 26 14 1777
    ORL 19 28 16 2285

    Top Performers

    Charlotte: S. May 15 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Orlando: D. Howard 21 Pts, 20 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Howard, Magic send Bobcats to fifth-straight loss

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Dwight Howard made Orlando's 2004 draft look smart.

    The No. 1 overall selection last year, Howard had 21 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Magic over Charlotte 85-77 Tuesday night and hand the Bobcats their fifth straight loss.

    Orlando chose the high school standout over Emeka Okafor, who went second to Charlotte and was named the NBA's Rookie of the Year last season.

    Howard finished third in the balloting, but has shown significant improvement this season -- especially on this night against Okafor.

    "He's going to be a beast to contain," Magic forward Tony Battie said. "He's good right now, but he's going to be great."

    Howard helped get Okafor into early foul trouble. Okafor, who entered the game averaging 13 points and nine boards, finished with eight points -- all in the fourth quarter -- and six rebounds.

    "Dwight played strong. I'm not really surprised," Okafor said. "He's getting the ball more this year, just getting a lot more touches, and he was authoritative with his moves."

    Howard, who was 7-of-11 from the field and got his fifth consecutive double-double, fought through leg problems before the game and was just happy he could play.

    "(Magic players) made a lot of jokes about how I had this game on my calendar. I just wanted to get the win," Howard said. "It doesn't matter how we got it, ugly or pretty."

    Keith Bogans led Charlotte with a season-high 18 points off the bench. No Bobcats starter scored in double figures.

    "That unit, we're just not getting out of the gate," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "I think there has to be a little more focus, there has to be a little more professionalism."

    Despite Howard's performance, Sean May made another Orlando draft pick look pretty bad. The Magic considered taking the North Carolina standout in June, but opted instead for Spain's Fran Vazquez, who spurned the team to stay in Europe.

    May finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

    Orlando's DeShawn Stevenson had 16 points and Steve Francis added 13 points, five rebounds and six assists. Battie had 11 points and 12 rebounds -- his first double-double of the season -- in the Magic's first home win.

    Jameer Nelson scored 13 off the bench, including five points in a 12-4 run in the fourth quarter that helped Orlando take control.

    Howard also came up big, hitting a baseline jumper and then adding a putback on consecutive possessions to push Orlando's lead to 76-68 with about 7 minutes to play.

    Nelson then drove the lane for a bucket and converted a three-point play to make it an 11-point game.

    The Magic failed to score in the final 3:04 of the second quarter, withstanding a 10-point Charlotte run to hold a 47-46 halftime lead.

    Howard had 15 points and nine rebounds at halftime, forcing the Bobcats to double-team him after the break. That created several open shots for the Magic.

    "He's our Rookie of the Year. He's our guy," Battie said. "If we were voting, he would have been the Rookie of the Year. He's still 19. If you look back at all the players who came out of high school, the transition was rough for them. It's going to take him some time, but he's adjusting pretty good.

    "He's getting a lot of training on the job. He's progressing in all areas."

    Game notes

    Howard has four career games with 20 or more rebounds. ... Orlando outrebounded Charlotte 50-37, helping the Magic overcome 12 missed free throws. ... Charlotte C Jake Voskuhl left with 11:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. ... Bobcats leading scorer Gerald Wallace (right wrist) missed his third straight game. Charlotte C Melvin Ely (sore shin) did not play. ... The Bobcats got their first two-day rest after opening the season with seven games in 11 days.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 77 85
    FGM-FGA 30-79 (.380) 30-72 (.417)
    3PM-3PA 3-10 (.300) 2-5 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 14-17 (.824) 23-35 (.657)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-37 16-50
    Assists 20 11
    Turnovers 10 13
    Steals 7 6
    Blocks 2 6
    Fast Break Points 13 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 16 (0/1)
    Largest Lead 6 11

    Top Performers

    Sean May May
    Points: 15
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Dwight Howard Howard
    Points: 21
    Reb: 20
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1