Magic 107, Bobcats 98

The Orlando Magic are beginning to learn how to close out

games.

That’s a lesson the Charlotte Bobcats have yet to master.

Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo each scored 20 points and Orlando

outscored Charlotte 15-5 in the final 3:34 to hand the slumping

Bobcats their 11th straight loss Saturday night, 107-98.

Jameer Nelson added 16 points and six assists and J.J. Redick

had 14 points, including a big 3-pointer down the stretch for the

Magic, who’ve won three of their past four. Nikola Vucevic was a

force inside the paint with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

”This is a new team and we’re still finding each other,” Davis

said. ”As a team, we’re learning and this was a game where we

learned from our past experience.”

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said his team is showing better

composure down the stretch.

”Our huddle was composed, the players were composed and I think

it showed on the floor,” Vaughn said. ”It was great to see and

great to see the process and our guys improving.”

It helped that the Magic scored 60 points in the paint on 30 of

45 shooting.

”We were just being aggressive,” Davis said. ”With me down

there scoring some points and Arron and Jameer making things

happen, it kind of set the tone for our play. And we were able to

control the paint.”

The Orlando win overshadowed a career-high 32 points from Kemba

Walker.

Charlotte’s second-year point guard was 11 of 19 from the

field.

He also had seven assists.

”I’m trying to get better,” Walker said. ”That’s all you do

at this point. I’m just doing whatever I can do to help my team win

basketball games. No matter how many points I have I really don’t

care about that stuff. I’m just trying to win. It wasn’t enough

tonight.”

Walker, Charlotte’s first-round pick a season ago, has excelled

this season, particularly at home where he came in shooting 45

percent and averaging 20.4 points per game; compared to 32 percent

and 12.4 points per game on the road.

Nelson, for one, walked away impressed.

”He’s a great young player,” Nelson said of Walker. ”He’s

quick and one of the best scoring point guards in the league.

There’s a lot of time left in his career and he’s going to get

better.”

The Magic shot 54.5 percent from the field, led by Davis and

Afflalo, who were a combined 15 of 25.

Orlando led 92-88 when Walker hit a long 3 from the top of the

key. On Orlando’s next possession Davis spun to the basket, but

Byron Mullens had a two-handed block igniting a fast-break layup on

the other end for Walker to give Charlotte the lead with 4:07 left

in the game.

But the lead was short-lived.

Afflalo gave the Magic the lead back for good seconds later with

a turnaround jumper in the lane igniting an 8-0 run.

After Davis added a free throw, Redick came off a screen and

knocked down a wide open 3-pointer at the top of the key to push

the lead to five.

As Charlotte struggled to hit shots down the stretch, Nelson

made a baseline jumper just as the shot clock expired and Vucevic

sent the crowd heading to the exits after scoring and drawing a

foul on a nice drive and pass from Nelson to give the Magic a

105-98 lead.

Gerald Henderson had 16 points and Ramon Sessions added 14 for

Charlotte.

In what has been a familiar refrain for the Bobcats, they

struggled down the stretch missing six shots on their final seven

possessions and turned the ball over once.

Meanwhile, they struggled again to make big stops when they

needed to.

”Teams are just adjusting to what we do,” Sessions said. ”I

can’t state that enough. We just have to make adjustments. I don’t

know what it is but some type of adjustment has to be made on the

offensive end and the defensive end.”

Said Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap: ”We had some good looks and the

fact of the matter is there were some 15-footers and six-footers

that didn’t go in. That makes it frustrating when you lose

games.”

But Dunlap said the real problem has been the Bobcats

defense

Charlotte has allowed opponents to score at least 100 points in

12 of its past 13 games.

”When you give up 54 percent shooting from the floor and

they’re getting over 100 points regularly we know what the culprit

is,” Dunlap said.

Notes: Looking for a spark, Dunlap reinserted Henderson into the

starting lineup in place of Taylor. Henderson hadn’t started since

injuring his foot in Week 2. … Afflalo and Davis both finished in

double digits in scoring for the 20th time this season. … Magic

forward Maurice Harkless tied a career high with four blocked

shots.