Orlando (29-35) at Charlotte (22-41)

Fair Currently: Charlotte, NC
Temp: 54° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EDT Mon Mar 12, 2007
  • TV: WRBW, N14
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats is potentially helpful for a team on the fringe of the playoff race. The Orlando Magic, however, have rarely been able to take advantage of games at Charlotte.

The Magic, with a chance to gain ground in the Eastern Conference, look to end their road woes against the Bobcats when the teams conclude their season series Monday night.

Orlando (29-35) missed an opportunity to pass New York for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East on Sunday night, losing 103-92 at Houston. The Magic fell one-half game behind the Knicks, who are idle Monday.

Orlando has won two of three games against last-place Charlotte (22-41) this season, but both of the wins came in Florida. The Magic have lost two straight games at Charlotte Bobcats Arena and four of five visits there all-time.

Grant Hill scored 17 points and Dwight Howard had 16 points and 12 rebounds Sunday for Orlando, which has lost five of six games and nine of 11 overall.

Hedo Turkoglu left the game after re-injuring his broken nose - originally suffered in Thursday’s loss to Chicago - in the first quarter, but later returned and finished with 10 points in 33 minutes.

Hill is averaging 20.0 points in five career games against the Bobcats, but has missed six of Orlando’s last seven matchups against them because of various injuries.

Charlotte has allowed 112.6 points per game during an eight-game losing streak, its longest since dropping 13 in a row from Jan. 11-Feb. 1, 2006. On Saturday night, the Bobcats lost to the NBA’s worst team, falling 115-107 to Memphis.

Even the return of forward Sean May couldn’t help Charlotte end its slide. May, who had missed the last 20 games with a knee injury, had 13 points and grabbed three rebounds in 22 minutes. He hadn’t played since Jan. 26 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I still got some time before … I get my rhythm back and my timing back,” May said. “I played 22 minutes out there and it was a little sore at times. But toward the end, once the game got close I sort of forgot about it. I still have some adjusting to do.

“I don’t think there are too many games where I have played 22 minutes and only had three rebounds. I just wish the outcome was different.”

May, who is averaging 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, scored a season-high 32 points in a 99-89 win over the Magic on Dec. 14.

The Bobcats clearly missed injured center Emeka Okafor Saturday, when they were outrebounded 44-35 and outscored 52-42 in the paint. Okafor, averaging 14.9 points and 11.7 rebounds, has missed the last seven games with a strained left calf.

Charlotte shot just 29.1 percent (25-for-86) from the field in a 106-74 loss at Orlando on Jan. 5 in the teams’ last meeting.

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Monday, Mar 12