The Orlando Magic suffered their most embarrassing defeat of the season Monday night when they were defeated by the Charlotte Bobcats 100-84. Orlando built a 20-point lead in the second quarter and looked like they were going to easily run away with the game but Charlotte absolutely dominated the next two-and-a-half quarters, earning a 100-84 victory.
Dwight Howard had 15 points and 17 points for the Magic while rookie Bismack Biyombo had 10 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks. Corey Maggette led all scorers with 29 points.
It looked like the Magic were going to comfortably win their third straight game when they built a 20-point second quarter lead and led by 17 with just 3:01 left in the first half before allowing the Bobcats to end the half on a 12-0 run, cutting the lead to five. Charlotte made it a 20-0 by scoring the first eight points of the second half. Aside from some small Magic runs, the Bobcats never really looked back.
After blowing a huge lead, as Orlando is prone to do, the Magic often can rely on three-point shooting and pure talent to rally for wins against the lower tier teams of the league, but they couldn’t hit anything in the fourth quarter. After taking a 79-77 lead on a Chris Duhon three-pointer with 9:11 to play in the game, the Bobcats ended the game on a 23-5 run. A Ryan Anderson tip-in, one Dwight Howard free throw and a layup by Howard were the only points the Magic scored in the last nine minutes and 11 seconds.
This game really makes you scratch your head and ask “Really?” It was like a culmination of everything Orlando has done wrong this season. Despite hitting 13 three-pointers, they went ice-cold in the fourth, going just 2-of-11 from three and missing their last eight attempts from beyond the arc. The Magic couldn’t get the ball into the paint and when they did – their shots were sent right back out by Biyombo, who had seven blocks in the game. Orlando also turned the ball over 18 times, resulting in 25 Bobcats points.
- The Magic tried to establish Dwight Howard but a combination of Biyombo’s defense, Orlando’s inability to throw good passes into the post and all-around bad night offensively from Howard kept the Magic from taking advantage of what is usually a very weak Bobcats defense. Howard finished with just 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 3-of-8 shooting from the free throw line.
- Charlotte entered ranked dead last in the NBA in offensive rating, yet scored 100 points, posted an effective field goal percentage of 50.0% and had an offensive rating of 110.0 (On the season, Charlotte has an offensive rating of 94.5).
- The Magic had no answer for Corey Maggette, who had 29 points and was aggressive all night, getting to the line 11 times and hitting 10 free throws.
- Orlando had just one player, Quentin Richardson, shoot over 50.0% from the field. Richardson had eight points on 3-of-4 shooting in 21 minutes.
Next Up: The Magic will be in Chicago to take on the Bulls Thursday night.
Final Thought: That was embarrassing.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Tags: Bismack Biyombo Boris Diaw Byron Mullens Charlotte Bobcats Chris Duhon DJ White Dwight Howard Gerald Henderson Glen Davis Hedo Turkoglu J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Jason Richardson Kemba Walker Larry Hughes Orlando Magic Otis Smith Quentin Richardson Ryan Anderson Stan Van Gundy Tyrus Thomas Von Wafer