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Injury-depleted Bobcats no match for Magic

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Orlando Magic solved one problem and
will have to wait for the answer on another.

Dwight Howard had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Magic took
advantage of the injury-riddled Charlotte frontcourt for a 108-92
victory over the Bobcats on Saturday night.

The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Magic, but
they won without Grant Hill, who was put on the inactive list
before the game with a groin strain. That is the same injury that
forced Hill to have surgery in October and miss the first 19 games
of the season.

He will accompany the team on a four-game West Coast trip that
begins Tuesday in Los Angeles, but his status is day-to-day.

"I want to say that I feel great, I really do, but honestly, I
don't know when I'll be ready to play," Hill said. "I hope I'll
feel good enough to go (Tuesday), but we'll have to wait and see
how it feels then."

The Magic didn't need him against the Bobcats, who have some
severe injury problems of their own. Charlotte played with three
guards on the floor most of the game because of injuries to four of
their big men, including Emeka Okafor and Jake Voskuhl.

Howard and Tony Battie combined to hit 15 of 19 shots against
the undersized Bobcats. Battie had 16 points and 12 rebounds, both
season highs, while Howard posted his 23rd double-double this
season.

"We knew they were going to be undersized down low so we tried
to take advantage of the mismatches," Howard said. "We just
really needed a win before we go out on a road trip."

Charlotte led 50-49 at halftime, but the Bobcats were outscored
32-10 in the decisive third quarter. They trailed by as many 25 in
the fourth quarter, never mounting a serious run.

"We were asking a lot from our guys and it was too much for us
to overcome," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "Battie
and Howard just wore us down in the second half and got a lot of
easy baskets."

All five Magic starters were in double figures as Orlando shot
56 percent from the field. Guards Steve Francis and Jameer Nelson
each had 18 points and six assists and DeShawn Stevenson added 16
points.

"I thought Jameer did a really good job keeping us organized
offensively," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "When Charlotte goes
small like that, they can make you look really sloppy, but Jameer
helped us keep our focus.

"And Steve shot 12 free throws, which means he was taking the
ball aggressively to the basket. That's another good sign for us.
It makes the game a lot easier for everybody when he does that."

Game notes
Voskuhl, who played for the first time in 15 games
Wednesday against Boston, was on the active list, but didn't play
because of a swollen knee. ... Charlotte guard Brevin Knight left
the game with back spasms with 2:03 left in the third period. He
did not return. ... Magic F Hedo Turkoglu was ejected with 9:33
left in the game after receiving his second technical. ... Magic F
Bo Outlaw, who played only once in the last 13 games, saw 19
minutes of action. He scored five points and had three rebounds.