Orlando at Charlotte -Game 3 preview

Staff Writer: Jay Yap

Orlando heads to Charlotte with a 2-0 lead. Game 2 was a physical game that featured a lot of fouls, although admittedly some of the calls didn’t go Charlotte’s way. Just ask Stephen Jackson’s headband.

The Bobcats have controlled Dwight Howard on the offensive end – he has averaged only 10 points in the past two games. Good thing for Magic coach Stan Van Gundy Howard is not his only weapon. Point guard Jameer Nelson scored 32 points in Game 1 and the Magic shot 43 percent from beyond the arc. In Game 2, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Matt Barnes combined for 43 points. The Magic only need Howard to rebound, block shots and pass out of the double team. Lewis in particular has come alive for the Magic in the playoffs. He is shooting 56 percent from the field.

The unsung hero for Orlando is Michael Pietrus. Not only because of his defense but because of his three-point shooting. Pieturs has already made seven of his eleven three point attempts.

Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace were big for Charlotte in the first two games. The problem has been their supporting cast. After scoring 19 points in the first game, Raymond Felton threw a stink bomb in Game 2 by scoring a measly four points. Larry Brown needs to make some adjustments and insert veteran Larry Hughes more into the rotation.

Brown also needs to curb Jackson’s tendency to shoot too much. When it’s not going in, Captain Jack needs to pass the ball. Jackson also has accumulated 12 turnovers over the past two games. He needs to leave the ballhandling to Felton and DJ Augustin.

The Bobcats will make a stand in Charlotte and may even steal a game but it won’t be enough. Orlando has too many weapons and plays tougher interior defense. Jackson and Wallace need to score a combined 50 points just for Charlotte to have a chance.

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