Bobcats-Magic Preview

KATE HEDLIN
The Associated Press

Dwight Howard had a frustrating performance his last time out. He was much more satisfied after facing the Charlotte Bobcats last month.

Howard and the Orlando Magic look to win their fifth straight when they host the struggling Bobcats on Tuesday night.

Orlando (9-3) concluded a 4-0 road trip with a 102-93 victory over New York on Monday. Ryan Anderson scored a career-high 30 points and J.J. Redick added 21 to compensate for Howard's sub-par performance.

Anderson made the Knicks pay for continually double-teaming Howard, hitting seven 3-pointers.

Orlando's superstar, meanwhile, was held to eight points and 10 rebounds while dealing with foul trouble. He scored a career-high 45 the previous game against Golden State.

"He's getting double and triple-teamed at some points," Anderson said."He's doing a great job keeping composure, being patient, finding guys on the perimeter, and we're moving the ball and that's why we got open shots tonight, just because of him."

While Howard was frustrated with foul trouble, Anderson's performance demonstrates how potent Orlando's offense can be with several dangerous outside shooters. Hedo Turkoglu and Redick were a combined 7 of 13 beyond the arc against New York.

Orlando averaged 107.5 points, shot 50.3 percent overall and 46.2 percent from 3-point range during the trip.

"It's a matter of picking your poison," Redick said.

Howard, averaging 19.4 points and 14.8 rebounds, will try to bounce back against the Bobcats. He finished with 20 points, 24 rebounds and four blocks in Orlando's 100-79 victory over Charlotte on Dec. 30.

Howard has double-doubles in all 14 regular season home meetings with the Bobcats, averaging 21.5 points and 15.1 boards.

This is the opener of a three-game homestand for the Magic and is the second in a back-to-back-to-back series. Their next two games are against San Antonio and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Facing the Magic will be a difficult assignment for the struggling Bobcats (3-11), who have lost seven of eight. After beating Golden State on Saturday to end a six-game skid, Charlotte lost 102-94 to Cleveland on Monday.

The Bobcats had a 14-point lead early in the second half and led 94-93 with two minutes to play, but went scoreless the rest of the way. They shot 29.5 percent in the second half and scored 17 points in the fourth quarter.

Charlotte is shooting 39.4 percent in the second half of games this season, an alarming trend the team refuses to blame on the addition of young players like D.J. Augustin and Kemba Walker to the lineup.

"We all play basketball and we all know how to make winning play," forward D.J. White said. "I don't want to make an excuse and say it's youth. We've just got to get better, point blank."

The Bobcats are 2-14 all-time against the Magic on the road, including two playoff losses. They've dropped four straight in Orlando, averaging 82.3 points.