Dwight Howard scored 20 points, collected 24 rebounds and blocked three shots as the Charlotte Bobcats fell to the Orlando Magic, 100-79.
The Bobcats (1-2) fell behind early and couldn’t recover as Magic (2-1) opened up the game with an 11-0 lead on Dec. 30 at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Bobcats shot 36 percent from the field and were never able to catch up.
“We didn’t execute our offense hardly at all,” said Coach Silas after the game. “The last three minutes I had to tell them ‘come on you’ve got to execute.’ We were just dribbling, dribbling, dribbling and letting the clock run down and I guess I’m going to have to start calling out plays more.”
After starting off strong in the first half against the Heat on Wednesday, the Bobcats looked sluggish in the first half, shooting 17-of-43 and taking a 43-56 deficit into the half.
“It didn’t seem like we had energy tonight,” said Silas. “The energy level was way down it seemed, we got no fast break buckets and we weren’t shooting the ball well. It was just one of those games where nothing was happening in our favor at all tonight."
Corey Maggette led the Bobcats with 20 points (6-15 shooting) and seven rebounds and D.J. Augustin had 14 points and four assists.
“We are just going to keep working and stay positive and regroup,” said Maggette when asked about the team’s mindset. “We can’t harp on this loss because we have a tough team right back again with Miami. We just have to regroup and figure out what we need to do to execute and come with the same energy and fire we did against them on Wednesday.”
Center Boris Diaw chipped in 10 points, six rebounds and six assists and Byron Mullens scored 12 points off the bench for the Bobcats.
“Obviously they are a great team with great three-point shooters all around and a great big man,” said Mullens. “We are a young team. We are just going to have to take this loss and learn from it.”
Charlotte came into tonight’s game ranked first in the NBA in rebounding but they were out-rebounded by the Magic 41 to 49 led by Howard with 24 rebounds. It was the second 20+ rebound performance in three games for Howard. Forward Ryan Anderson had 23 points on 5-of-12 shooting from three-point range and eight rebounds.
“The way Anderson is playing is unbelievable,” Maggette said. “He gives them a different dimension to the game.”
Game Notes: Orlando shot 12-of-28 from three-point range while the Bobcats shot 5-of-15… Tyrus Thomas missed his third straight game while recovering from a mild left ankle sprain; Silas says he “hopes” to have him back next week… Reggie Williams and Eddie Najera were also listed on the injury report as they recover from their respective knee surgeries… The Bobcats will play against LeBron James and the Miami Heat on Jan. 1 at 6 p.m. at AmericanAirlines Arena to start a three-game road trip.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.