The Orlando Magic are taking advantage of a favorable three-game stretch in their schedule.
Before facing the team with the NBA's best record, the visiting Magic try for a third consecutive victory Tuesday night when they look to continue their dominance of the league-worst Charlotte Bobcats.
After losing two of three, Orlando (25-14) has regrouped with a pair of victories against two teams with losing records - 114-98 over Milwaukee on Saturday and 92-88 at Toronto on Monday. Dwight Howard had 36 points and 13 rebounds while Ryan Anderson added 19 points with 13 boards against the Raptors as the Magic won for the ninth time in 12 games.
"My teammates gave me the ball in the right position to score,'' said Howard, who has averaged 32.3 points in his last three games.
The Magic went 9 of 28 as a team from 3-point range Monday, but J.J. Redick went 3 of 4 from beyond the arc including a key shot in the final 10 seconds to extend Orlando's lead to five points.
"J.J. is a guy we really rely on for those big moment shots,'' Anderson said of Redick, who finished with 13 points. "We really trust him and he knocked it down once again.''
Orlando will now go for its seventh straight win over the Bobcats (4-31), who have lost five in a row and 21 of 22. A third straight victory overall could help the Magic build some momentum heading into Thursday's game at Chicago.
"We all have to play good for us to do well," forward Hedo Turkoglu told the Magic's official website after he recorded nine assists and no points Monday.
Still playing hard despite his uncertain future in Orlando, Howard has totaled 45 points and 41 rebounds in two games against the Bobcats this season. That includes a 24-rebound performance in a 100-79 win at Charlotte on Dec. 30.
Anderson added 23 points in that contest to help Orlando earn its seventh straight victory at Charlotte since a 99-93 loss Jan. 16, 2008.
The Bobcats blew a 16-point first-half lead Sunday and allowed New Jersey's Deron Williams to score a franchise-record 57 points while losing their eighth in row at home, 104-101. Corey Maggette scored 24 points for Charlotte, which still had a chance to tie the game in the end despite a 19-point third quarter.
"We didn't give up,'' coach Paul Silas said. "That was a great thing. We did have a chance. That shows me that we are getting there. It's certainly not there yet. But we are striving to get there. At least we're not just giving up and letting teams just run over us. If we continue to do this, we'll be OK.''
Averaging an NBA-low 86.7 points, the Bobcats reached 100 for only the fourth time this season and the first time in 22 games since a 112-100 home win over Golden State on Jan. 14.
Maggette, who scored 20 at home against the Magic earlier this season, is averaging 18.8 points in his last four games overall.
- Charlotte Bobcats
- Orlando Magic
- Dwight Howard
- Ryan Anderson