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News » Bobcats-Magic Preview 2009-11-15

Bobcats-Magic Preview 2009-11-15

Bobcats-Magic Preview 2009-11-15The Orlando Magic are about to get an offensive boost from the return of Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson, and they turned in an impressive defensive performance in their latest game.

A visit from the Charlotte Bobcats should give them a good chance for yet another.

Lewis makes his much-anticipated season debut after a 10-game suspension Monday night as the Magic look to hand the scoring-starved Bobcats a fifth straight loss.

Lewis averaged 19.0 points in last season's playoffs as Orlando advanced to the NBA finals, but the two-time All-Star was suspended to start this season after testing positive for an elevated testosterone level.

His replacement, Ryan Anderson, did a fine job initially, averaging 15.0 points and making 43.6 percent from 3-point range in six starts before spraining his ankle.

The Magic (7-3) have struggled in four games without Anderson, averaging 87.0 points and shooting 27.9 percent from beyond the arc - 13.3 percent lower than they shot while starting 5-1.

In its most recent game, however, Orlando stepped up defensively. Dwight Howard had five blocks to go with 26 points and the Magic held New Jersey to 32.9 percent shooting in an 88-72 win Friday.

"We all played better defensively," Howard said. "My job is to erase other people's mistakes and I did that tonight. I think I had a good night."

Coach Stan Van Gundy was pleased with the defensive effort after being very critical in recent games, but was eager to get back Lewis and Anderson, who are due to return Monday.

"Offensively, we are struggling," Van Gundy said. "We're just not shooting the ball well and until we get back to shooting the ball, we're not going to be as good as we should be."

Though Lewis and Anderson are set to play, Orlando could still be short-handed Monday. Point guard Jameer Nelson was sent home from practice Sunday with the flu, and center Marcin Gortat missed practice because he felt ill.

Van Gundy expects Nelson to be available but Gortat is doubtful.

As frustrated as Van Gundy has been with his offense, Larry Brown's team has struggled to score all season. The Bobcats (3-6) average a league-worst 82.4 points and have scored fewer than 80 five times, including each of their two latest losses.

Charlotte shot 36.6 percent Saturday night against visiting Portland in an 80-74 defeat, their fourth in a row.

"It's not falling," said guard Raymond Felton, who was 3 of 15 and is shooting 35.7 percent this season. "We need somebody to have that breakout, no matter who it is."

Felton led the way with 18 points against Orlando on Tuesday, but the Bobcats' 16 turnovers and a 2-for-17 performance from 3-point range doomed them in a 93-81 home loss.

That was the only home game in which Charlotte was beaten convincingly, but it was blown out in three of its four road games. The Bobcats have been outscored by an average of 17.5 points in four road losses, shooting 39.0 percent and turning the ball over 19.5 times per game.

To make matters worse, Charlotte has rarely been competitive at Amway Arena. The Bobcats are 1-9 all-time in Orlando and have dropped eight straight there by an average of 15.3 points.

Howard averaged 23.8 points, 16.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks during those eight matchups.

Lewis scored 17.3 points a game on 38.6 percent shooting in three contests against Charlotte last season.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 16, 2009


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