Jefferson had 30 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Charlotte
Bobcats to a 111-101 victory over the hapless Orlando Magic, who
lost their 10th consecutive game.
It was Jefferson's third consecutive game with at least 24 points
and shooting better than 50 percent. The Bobcats (17-24) won two of
the three. He had 35 points in Tuesday night's victory over the New
"If I get the ball, and we play inside-out, and I get going, good
things are going to happen," Jefferson said. "It just opens things
up for everyone. We have enough talent in this room to be a playoff
team. If we do things the right way, things will work for us."
Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts had 17 points, including a
season-high five 3-pointers. Point guard Kemba Walker had 19 points
and 10 assists. Guard Gerald Henderson added 17 points.
"We want to play through him (Jefferson). He makes all the right
plays," Walker said. "Getting him the ball and playing off him is
the way to go. Defenses have to double him; we just have to make
shots. He makes good decisions with the ball. When he's on like
that, good things happen."
Jefferson was perfect in the fourth quarter when he scored 12
points. He hit all four of his shots from the field and all four
free throws. He also had seven rebounds and a steal.
The Bobcats dominated the fourth quarter from the free throw line,
hitting 16 of 20 to keep the Magic from seriously challenging.
Orlando never got closer than six points in the final eight minutes
after pulling within two points early in the quarter.
The Magic were led by guard Arron Afflalo, who had 24 points after
missing the previous three games with a strained right foot. Forward
Tobias Harris and guard Jameer Nelson each had 18 points.
The Magic got a spark with 2:55 remaining when Afflalo converted a
rare four-point play after he was fouled by forward Michael
Kidd-Gilchrist. He closed the deficit to 103-97, but the Magic never
got any closer.
Jefferson made 13 of 17 shots from the field and posted his 15th
double-double in his 32nd game. He had only 10 points last month in
a loss to the Magic, although he still was recovering from an
earlier ankle injury.
"I'm in game shape now and things are getting better physically," he
said. "This was plan from day one, to play inside-out through me. It
opens things up for me — and for everyone else."
[to top of second column]
The Bobcats are home Saturday night against the Miami Heat.
Charlotte were ahead 78-74 going into the fourth quarter. They
got 10 points in the third from Jefferson, who led the charge to
retake the lead they had lost in the second quarter.
The Magic led 53-52 at intermission, overcoming an awful start
when they fell behind 21-3 and made just one of their first 10
shots from the field. The Bobcats led 30-18 after the first
quarter but let their lead slip away in the second, which was
Orlando's only good quarter.
Magic guard Victor Oladipo, who was scoreless in the first
quarter, had 10 points and seven assists in the second quarter
to lead the Magic charge. He finished with just 11 points in 39
Afflalo hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter when the Magic
made 15 of 24 shots from the field and scored 35 points.
McRoberts carried the Bobcats early, getting 14 of his points in
the first half.
The Magic have the longest current losing streak in the NBA.
They lost in triple overtime on Wednesday to Chicago. They are
0-12 this season in games without starting center Nikola
"Overall, I think we showed some resolve to come back after that
slow start," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "But mentally, it
was challenging for us tonight. Al (Jefferson) is a tough cover
for us. His ability to put the ball on the ground and pass out
to cutters, it's tough to guard. Give them (Bobcats) credit for
their defense, too. They're one of the better defensive teams in
NOTES: Magic G Arron Afflalo returned to the lineup after a
three-game absence because of a strained right foot. C Nikola
Vucevic missed his sixth consecutive game recovering from a
concussion. ... The Bobcats came into the game still winless
(0-6) against teams in the Southeast Division. ... Magic G
Jameer Nelson talked about the $15,000 fine levied against him
by the NBA for the "obscene" gesture he made in Wednesday
night's game against the Chicago Bulls. After hitting a
step-back jumper over Bulls C Joakim Noah to tie the score with
11 seconds remaining in regulation, Nelson used a gesture meant
to reflect that he had enough fortitude to take and make a
clutch shot. He didn't exactly apologize to the league on
Friday. "If I have pay $15K for our fans to get excited, I'd do
it again. Basketball is a fun game and you get emotional. You
usually never see my emotions. You did that game," he said. ...
The Bobcats' staff included mostly former Magic assistants,
including coach Steve Clifford and assistants Patrick Ewing, Bob
Beyer, Mark Price and Bob Weiss.
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