If Orlando Magic fans were expecting to see their team come out of the All-Star break reinvigorated and playing at a higher level than ever, they were sorely disappointed after the Southeast Division's fourth-place Magic lost to the division's fifth-place Charlotte Bobcats 105-92 on Tuesday night at the Amway Center.
"Bad basketball. Bad defense. They (Charlotte) didn't seem to have a problem with energy, or a layoff or anything like that. Just bad," Magic guard J.J. Redick said. "Everybody was out there making mistakes. The NBA is about team defense. For the last 28 games we've been pretty awful on the defensive side of the ball."
Charlotte (13-40) got 24 points apiece from Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson, with Walker dishing out seven assists and Henderson pulling down 10 rebounds, while Byron Mullens notched 20 points and 12 rebounds and Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon scored 10 points each.
The Magic (15-38) were paced by Nikola Vucevic's 18-point, 11-rebound effort, with Arron Afflalo also recording 18 points. Moe Harkless tallied 15 points and six boards, Andrew Nicholson registered 13 points and 12 boards, Jameer Nelson finished with 10 points and six assists and Redick added 10 points.
Orlando was outshot 46.9% (38 of 81) to 41.6% (37 of 89) from the field and 37.5% (9 of 24) to 16.0% (4 of 25) from behind the arc, but outrebounded the visitors 46-45 and held a 54-40 edge on points in the paint. The Magic dished out 26 assists compared to 18 for the Bobcats, but were beaten 18-10 in fast break points.
After being outscored 37-27 in the first quarter and 26-16 in the second frame, Orlando won the third quarter 27-17 before losing 25-22 in the fourth.
"We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "To be down 20 at halftime, we gave ourselves a chance. We fought back in the third quarter. Probably one of our better defensive quarters of the entire year. … It was great to see."
Orlando is at Dallas on Wednesday at 8:30 pm on FS Florida.
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