Magic return to losing ways after All-Star break, collapse to last place Bobcats 105-92

ORLANDO – Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker each had 24 points to help the Charlotte Bobcats defeat the Orlando Magic 105-92 on Tuesday, Feb. 19 in front of 17,037 fans at the Amway Center.

“Their guards are the guys that get them shots,” said Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn of Henderson and Walker. “Whether it’s them getting shots for themselves or for their teammates.”

Nikola Vucevic and Arron Afflalo led the Magic with 18 points each, while teammate Andrew Nicholson had a career high 12 rebounds.

“I’m on the right path,” said Nicholson about what his career rebounding night ment to him. “I’m just going to keep rebounding and be aggressive and help us.”

Maurice Harkless scored Orlando’s first six points, starting the game 2-2 shooting while also going 2-2 from the free throw line.

The Magic entered the second quarter trailing by 10 points after the Bobcats outshot Orlando 68.2% – 50.0% during the first. Henderson led all scorers with 14 points after the opening quarter.

In the second quarter Charlotte finished on a 11-4 run as they went into the locker room at halftime with a 63-43 lead.

“We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole. To be down 20 at halftime,” said Vaughn after the game. “We gave ourselves a chance, we fought back in the third quarter, probably one of our better defensive quarters of the entire year.”

The Magic started the third quarter on a 10-0 run, cutting Charlotte’s lead to 63-53. Orlando ended the quarter on a 8-3 run and went into the fourth quarter trailing 80-70. Orlando managed to outscore the Bobcats 27-17 during the third.

“I was really proud of the guys in the second half,” said Arron Afflalo in the locker room after the game. “We came in here at halftime, down 20; we made a commitment to be more vocal on defense, to help each other out. We cut the lead to two. We didn’t win tonight but in my eyes, we grew tonight.”

Orlando used an 11-2 run to cut Charlotte’s lead to 90-88 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Bobcats went on a 15-4 run to end the game.

“It takes that same focus and concentration,” said Vaughn. “And that focus and concentration we had that stretch to get us to a two point game and there’s no relaxing. Guys are too good and so you have to be focused on the coverage.”

“If it’s the first play of the game or last play of the game, they all add up over the course of the game.” added Vaughn

Vucevic played all but a minute of the fourth quarter as the Magic tried to mount their comeback.

“It means alot to me as a player, especially a young player,” said Vucevic about the faith that his coach puts in him late in the game. “That coach believes in me no matter what time in the game it is.”

With the loss the Magic’s record falls to 15-38 with 29 games remaining in the season. Orlando now sit two games above the last place Bobcats for the league’s worst record.

The Magic play the Dallas Mavericks next on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas at 8:30 p.m.