Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic are in control with a 3-0 lead and can finish off their sweep of the Bobcats on Monday night at Charlotte's Time Warner Arena.
Orlando, the Eastern Conference’s second seed, can complete its series sweep of seventh-seed Charlotte with a victory in this spot. The Magic has its sights set on a return trip to the NBA Finals, and sweeping this first-round series is a great start.
The Bobcats are making their first trip to the postseason in franchise history. Charlotte's last NBA playoff experience came in 2001-02 before the Hornets bolted for the Big Easy.
Don Best Sports installed Orlando as four-point road ‘chalk’ over Charlotte, with the total set at 184. TNT will provide coverage of Monday’s Game 4 beginning at 8:05 p.m. ET from the Bobcats’ Time Warner Arena. It precedes TNT's broadcast of Game 5 between the Blazers and Suns.
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Orlando (62-23 straight up, 45-34 against the spread) beat Charlotte (44-41 SU, 44-38 ATS) in Saturday’s Game 3 as a two-point road favorite, 90-86. The combined 176 points failed to topple the 182 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash the second consecutive contest.
The Magic prevailed by outscoring the Bobcats in the second half, 49-40. Orlando also won the rebounding battle, 43-33, while trailing in assists, 17-14, and points in the paint, 38-28. The Magic shot 44 percent (31-of-70) from the field, and 30 percent (9-of-30) from behind the arc.
Point guard Jameer Nelson led all scorers with 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting, while power forward Rashard Lewis added 14 and six rebounds. Center Dwight Howard only had 13, eight and seven blocks in 26 minutes of action before fouling out.
The lone stumbling block for Orlando in this series appears to be the officiating, already costing the team $70,000 in fines for complaining. Despite not having Howard the last 3:23 of the game, the Magic outscored the Bobcats, 11-6.
Charlotte finished the game by shooting 42 percent (31-of-74) from the field and 22 percent (5-of-23) from three-point land. Shooting guard Stephen Jackson paced the offense with 19 and four, while small forward Gerald Wallace contributed 13 and eight. Point guard Raymond Felton added 13 and six assists in the setback, while guard Larry Hughes had 14 on 5-of-6 shooting.
Orlando is now 26-16 SU and 21-17 ATS on the road, with the ‘under’ going 27-15. The Magic has been winning its road endeavors by an average score of 100-97. Orlando sports a solid 10-1 SU and 6-5 ATS record the previous 11 matchups with Charlotte, while the ‘under’ has gone 7-4.
The Bobcats are now 31-11 SU and 23-19 ATS on their home court, with the ‘over’ going 23-19. Charlotte has been winning its home games by an average score of 98-92.
Orlando opened the series by beating the Bobcats Monday as a 10-point home ‘chalk,’ 98-89, while the combined 187 points slithered ‘over’ the 186 ½-point closing total.
The Magic followed that performance with Wednesday’s Game 2 victory as a nine-point home favorite, 92-77. The combined 169 points in that matchup failed to topple the 186 ½-point closing total.