After another lackluster effort, the Magic try to get back on track Wednesday night when they go for a season sweep of the short-handed Bobcats, whose slim postseason hopes continue to fade.
Orlando (49-29) had lost three of four before holding on for an ugly 78-72 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday. The Magic led 14-0 and were up 26-14 at the end of the first quarter, but the Bucks rallied to stay close thanks to a horrific shooting performance by Orlando.
The Magic made 38.8 percent from the field and committed 21 turnovers. They missed 19 straight from 3-point range and finished 2 of 21.
The poor offensive effort tempered any excitement over clinching the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the first round.
“We’re not really thinking about that,” forward Hedo Turkoglu(notes) said. “We’re just playing as a group to get better as we’re getting close to the playoffs. When the time comes … we just have to be conditioned right and be at the highest level we can and try to do our best.”
The Magic were held to fewer than 90 points for the third time in four games and posted their third-lowest point total of the season. Dwight Howard(notes) had with 18 points and 17 rebounds while Jameer Nelson(notes) scored 17 for Orlando, which was outscored 22-15 in the third quarter.
“We have four games left now, and we have to use these four games as a way for us to build momentum going into the playoffs,” guard Chris Duhon(notes) said. “We want to be playing at our best and there’s still time to get there.”
Orlando has won five straight on the road over Charlotte and all three meetings this season, the most recent an 89-77 victory Friday.
While the Magic are trying to improve before the postseason, Charlotte’s chances of making it in aren’t good. The Bobcats are coming off back-to-back losses to two of the worst teams in the East and have dropped three straight overall.
Charlotte (32-45) fell 97-91 to Washington on Sunday and 99-89 at Cleveland on Tuesday, dropping it 2 1/2 games behind Indiana for the final playoff spot. The Bobcats have five games remaining while the Pacers have four.
Charlotte shot 39 percent for the game and was outscored 34-16 in the first quarter. The Bobcats trailed by as many as 21.
“We aren’t going to make the playoffs if we don’t come to play,” said guard Gerald Henderson(notes), who scored 15 points. “It’s unfortunate to start games like that and expect to play in the postseason. It’s just not going to happen if we continue to do that these next few games.”
Jackson’s injury isn’t the only one Charlotte is dealing with. Forward Tyrus Thomas(notes) (sore left knee), guard Shaun Livingston(notes) (bruised tailbone) and forward Eduardo Najera(notes) (back spasms) were also out.
The Bobcats have a rough upcoming schedule, with a visit to Miami on Friday following the matchup with Orlando.
Charlotte has averaged 83.7 points against the Magic this season.