Magic-Bobcats Preview

Kemba Walker proved in the Charlotte Bobcats’ last contest that

he’s more than capable of succeeding against top-notch

competition.

He’s done so against the disappointing Orlando Magic, too.

Charlotte seeks a third straight victory while looking to deal

visiting Orlando a seventh consecutive defeat Wednesday night.

Walker came out with the upper hand in Monday’s duel with

Stephen Curry, hitting 10 of 18 from the field and matching his

season high with 31 points in the Bobcats’ 115-111 victory over

Golden State.

He scored 27 points in the second half and the final 15 for

Charlotte (10-11), which will be trying to win three straight for

the first time this season.

“I love to play against the best,” Walker said. “We came out

with the win. That’s all I really care about at this point.”

Coach Steve Clifford wasn’t concerned that Curry burned Walker

for 43 points on the other end of the floor, but rather with how

Walker was able to respond and help the Bobcats pull out the

victory.

“Kemba is an A-1 competitor, and that is a well-rounded game he

played because he played tenacious,” Clifford said. “I don’t care

how many points (Curry) had.”

Walker has done his share of scoring in recent meetings with

Orlando, averaging 28.8 points over the last four. Charlotte has

won the last three matchups, including a 114-108 victory March 27

in which Walker scored 34 points – one off his career high – and

added nine assists.

Gerald Henderson also fell one shy of his career best by

matching Walker’s total in that contest. He’s coming off a

season-high 24 points against the Warriors, and he’ll look for

another strong performance against Orlando, which hasn’t won in two

weeks.

The Bobcats rank near the bottom of the league in field-goal

percentage (41.4), but the Magic (6-15) have allowed opponents to

shoot 47.6 percent during their skid.

Orlando has scored an average of 92.0 points in that stretch

while giving up 107.7, and it fell 94-85 to Memphis on Monday. It

trailed by as many as 23, but outscored the Grizzlies by 12 in the

second half.

“There is always a point in the game that you can give in, or

you can choose to rally around each other and try to fight,” said

coach Jacque Vaughn, whose team fell to 1-10 on the road. “We put a

group out on the floor that gave us a chance to do that. They gave

us a chance to win.”

Nikola Vucevic, averaging 14.7 points and 10.9 rebounds, wasn’t

in that group as he missed his fourth straight game with a sprained

left ankle. Andrew Nicholson (11 rebounds) and Jameer Nelson scored

19 points apiece, while Glen Davis added 16 and nine boards.

“The good thing is, these bumps are coming early as far as tough

losses and guys not being healthy,” Davis said. “If we can get guys

healthy and learn to stay together, we can overcome these

obstacles.”

Charlotte forward Jeffery Taylor missed Monday’s contest with a

left heel contusion after matching his season high with 20 points

in Friday’s win over Philadelphia. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to

play in this contest.

If Taylor is out, Ben Gordon again may see more playing time

after scoring a season-high 12 on Monday.