Regular Season Series (Game 3 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

Magic 104

(15-22, 5-13 away)

Bobcats 93

(11-29, 7-12 home)

    Coverage: NE14

    7:30 PM ET, January 20, 2006

    Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    ORL 27 28 28 21104
    CHA 21 22 22 2893

    Top Performers

    Orl: D. Howard 19 Pts, 21 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

    Cha: B. Knight 17 Pts, 2 Reb, 7 Ast, 3 Stl

    Howard's 21 rebounds power Magic past Bobcats

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Before Friday's game against Orlando, Charlotte Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said he had never seen anything like his team's rash of injuries.

    Then it got worse.

    Dwight Howard had 19 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, Hedo Turkoglu scored 24 points, and the Magic beat the injury-riddled Bobcats 104-93.

    Already without Emeka Okafor (ankle), Kareem Rush (finger), Melvin Ely (ankle) and Sean May (knee surgery), the Bobcats lost leading scorer Gerald Wallace to a knee injury in the third quarter.

    A team official said Wallace sprained his left knee, but would undergo an MRI exam either late Friday or early Saturday. He's out at least four weeks, and Bickerstaff said he's running out of options.

    "If there's something out there that's close to what Gerald represents, something's wrong, because I think that player is already in the league," Bickerstaff said. "I think the guys are beat up right now, but we have to recover."

    The Bobcats were no match for the Magic, who were helped by the return to the starting lineup of Steve Francis in his second game back from suspension. Francis had 13 points and six assists despite foul trouble as the Magic won their second straight game and snapped an eight-game road losing streak.

    "He picked up some fouls ... but that is where he belongs, out there," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "He worked hard tonight and did a good job."

    Keith Bogans scored 19 points, Brevin Knight added 17 and Wallace scored 12 before the injury for the Bobcats, who lost their sixth straight game.

    Wallace, who leads the NBA with 2.5 steals per game, came down awkwardly on his left knee after being fouled by Tony Battie in a battle for a rebound. He crumpled in pain near the foul line and was down for several minutes. He was eventually helped to the locker room without putting any pressure on his left leg.

    "I couldn't straighten my leg or bend it," said Wallace, who came in averaging 14.6 points. "It felt like I bumped knees at first, but the pain got more and more intense. Then I didn't try to get up. I don't really know what the diagnosis is, but I'm getting ready to go over and get some tests done."

    The Bobcats, trailing 68-52 when Wallace went down, never challenged again, falling behind by as many as 21 points.

    "I just hope somebody doesn't go down tomorrow night, because this is getting ridiculous," center Primoz Brezec said.

    Francis, who served a two-game suspension for declining to re-enter a game last week, came off the bench for only the third time in his career in Wednesday's win over Washington, his first game back. He hit two jumpers early in the second half to give the Magic a 61-45 lead with 9:25 left.

    "It felt good to play. I don't like to sit at home," Francis said. "I don't anticipate anything of this sort will happen again. It is behind me. We'll just continue to move forward."

    Orlando, 3-0 against Charlotte this season, held a 48-40 rebounding advantage to overcome 16 turnovers against the hard-luck Bobcats.

    "I feel for Bernie and his team," Hill said. "I hope Wallace is OK. When it rains, it pours." ^Notes:@ With forward Jake Voskuhl (five points, seven rebounds) returning from his sprained ankle, the Bobcats dressed more than 10 players (11) for only the second time in eight games before Wallace went down. ... Okafor remains in a walking boot and doesn't appear close to returning. ... Magic forward Grant Hill refused to answer questions about his abdominal injury before the game. He's expected to miss another week. ... Kelvin Cato did not travel with the Magic after spraining his ankle Wednesday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 104 93
    FGM-FGA 35-72 (.486) 34-86 (.395)
    3PM-3PA 9-18 (.500) 6-21 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 25-33 (.758) 19-35 (.543)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-48 14-40
    Assists 24 17
    Turnovers 16 12
    Steals 7 9
    Blocks 8 3
    Fast Break Points 6 19
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 21 2

    Top Performers

    Dwight Howard Howard
    Points: 19
    Reb: 21
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 2
    Brevin Knight Knight
    Points: 17
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0