ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—The Orlando Magic solved one problem and will have to wait for the answer on another.
Dwight Howard had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Magic took advantage of the injury-riddled Charlotte frontcourt for a 108-92 victory over the Bobcats on Saturday night.
The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Magic, but they won without Grant Hill, who was put on the inactive list before the game with a groin strain. That is the same injury that forced Hill to have surgery in October and miss the first 19 games of the season.
He will accompany the team on a four-game West Coast trip that begins Tuesday in Los Angeles, but his status is day-to-day.
“I want to say that I feel great, I really do, but honestly, I don’t know when I’ll be ready to play,” Hill said. “I hope I’ll feel good enough to go (Tuesday), but we’ll have to wait and see how it feels then.”
The Magic didn’t need him against the Bobcats, who have some severe injury problems of their own. Charlotte played with three guards on the floor most of the game because of injuries to four of their big men, including Emeka Okafor and Jake Voskuhl.
Howard and Tony Battie combined to hit 15 of 19 shots against the undersized Bobcats. Battie had 16 points and 12 rebounds, both season highs, while Howard posted his 23rd double-double this season.
“We knew they were going to be undersized down low so we tried to take advantage of the mismatches,” Howard said. “We just really needed a win before we go out on a road trip.”
Charlotte led 50-49 at halftime, but the Bobcats were outscored 32-10 in the decisive third quarter. They trailed by as many 25 in the fourth quarter, never mounting a serious run.
“We were asking a lot from our guys and it was too much for us to overcome,” Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “Battie and Howard just wore us down in the second half and got a lot of easy baskets.”
All five Magic starters were in double figures as Orlando shot 56 percent from the field. Guards Steve Francis and Jameer Nelson each had 18 points and six assists and DeShawn Stevenson added 16 points.
“I thought Jameer did a really good job keeping us organized offensively,” Magic coach Brian Hill said. “When Charlotte goes small like that, they can make you look really sloppy, but Jameer helped us keep our focus.
“And Steve shot 12 free throws, which means he was taking the ball aggressively to the basket. That’s another good sign for us. It makes the game a lot easier for everybody when he does that.”
Voskuhl, who played for the first time in 15 games Wednesday against Boston, was on the active list, but didn’t play because of a swollen knee. … Charlotte guard Brevin Knight left the game with back spasms with 2:03 left in the third period. He did not return. … Magic F Hedo Turkoglu was ejected with 9:33 left in the game after receiving his second technical. … Magic F Bo Outlaw, who played only once in the last 13 games, saw 19 minutes of action. He scored five points and had three rebounds.