NBA: Magic 98, Bobcats 73
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Tony Battie had 21 points, Mickael Pietrus scored 19, and the Orlando Magic tuned up for the playoffs with a 98-73 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.
Dwight Howard had 10 points and 12 rebounds in limited minutes to help Orlando snap its season-longest three-game losing streak without starting forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis. The third-seeded Magic will face sixth-seeded Philadelphia this weekend in the first round of the playoffs.
The only bright note to the end of another losing season for the Bobcats (35-47) is that they finished with the best record in franchise history ó two wins better than the 2006-07 team. Charlotte lost its final four games, all on the road, and seven of its last eight.
The Magic took care of business early and rested late.
Battie’s put-back dunk on a missed jumper by Courtney Lee powered a 17-3 first-quarter run for the Magic. Howard had five points and four rebounds in the period and played only the first and third quarters, but he wasn’t needed.
Raymond Felton had 13 points, and Nazr Mohammed added 12 for the Bobcats, who never came close.
The Magic (59-23) finished with the second-best record in franchise history, one win shy of the 1995-96 team led by Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway.