Magic collapse in defeat to the struggling Bobcats 106-101

ORLANDO — Jameer Nelson had 22 points and added seven assists, but it wasn’t enough as the Orlando Magic fell to the Charlotte Bobcats 106-101 on Friday, Jan. 18 at the Amway Center.

Charlotte’s Kemba Walker lead all scorers with 25 points, while adding eight rebounds and five assists for the Bobcats.

“He has the ability to score the basketball,” said Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn on Walker following the game. “He’s extremely quick, great knack of splitting pick and rolls, and he can take contact and can finish at the same time. He made it tough on us tonight.”

Orlando, who were coming off of a 97-86 victory over the Indiana Pacers, entered the second quarter tied with Charlotte at 28-28 following a back-and-forth first quarter.

Charlotte finished the second quarter on a 19-9 run, as the Bobcats went into the locker room at halftime leading 57-45.

The Bobcats outscored the Magic 29-17 during the second quarter, while taking two less shots than Orlando.

“We made some adjustments off of pick and rolls, how we were going to guard it,” said Magic forward DeQuan Jones. “But guys make big shots.”

Orlando went on a 10-1 run early in the third quarter to cut the Bobcat’s lead to 62-58.

The Magic later went on a 10-5 run, cutting Charlotte’s lead to 71-68 before Jeffrey Taylor hit a three-pointer for the Bobcats to give the Bobcats a 74-68 lead.

“They just hit timely shots,” said Vaughn after the game. “We were trying to keep them in front of us and they made good passes to get guys shots and they just went in for them.”

Orlando shot 46.8% for the game, while going 11-31 from behind the three-point line.

“A bunch of our guys had great looks tonight,” added Vaughn. “If we make a few more of those then the game is different.”

J.J. Redick ended the third quarter with a buzzer-beating three pointer, which cut the Bobcat’s lead to 76-71 entering the final quarter of regulation.

Glen Davis, who was playing in his third game since returning from injury, entered the fourth quarter in foul trouble with four fouls. Davis then recorded his fifth foul of the game with 9:25 remaining in regulation, forcing Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn to put him on the bench.

Charlotte went on a 14-6 run early in the fourth quarter, extending their lead to 90-77 over the Magic with 6:25 remaining in regulation.

“Because of the position we’re in right now, we can’t allow these kinds of games where we can come out with a big win like two days ago and then tonight we play with no energy,” said Magic center Nikola Vucevic after the game. “So we can’t have that, we have to play hard every night.”

J.J. Redick hit a three-pointer with 6:11 left to play, cutting Charlotte’s lead to 90-80.

Orlando went on a 17-8 run midway through the fourth quarter to cut the Bobcats lead to 98-94, but that was as close as the Magic would get before they were forced to begin fouling.

The Bobcats ended the game on a 8-6 run, which consisted mostly of free throws from intentional fouls.

Nikola Vucevic finished the game with 11 points and nine rebounds, falling one rebound shy of his ninth straight double-double.

“It just sends you back to the drawing board,” said Jones about the loss to the Bobcats. “And kind of exposes the team on what we need to work on moving forward.”

With the loss to Charlotte, Orlando’s record now sits at 14-25 and 1-2 since Glen Davis returned to the lineup.

The Magic’s next game will be at home on Sunday, Jan. 20 at 6:00 p.m. against the Dallas Mavericks.