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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 28th (All times Eastern)

Charlotte Bobcats (35-37) at Orlando Magic (20-52), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Charlotte Bobcats have made the playoffs once in their short existence in the NBA and are moving toward another appearance.

The Bobcats aim to stay in the hunt for a postseason berth Friday against the Southeast Division-rival Orlando Magic at Amway Center.

Charlotte was swept (4-0) by the Magic in its first-round playoff series back in 2009-10 and sits seventh in the Eastern Conference, 1 1/2 games behind Washington and three in back of fifth-seeded Brooklyn. It went 2-1 on a recent homestand and closed the stay with Wednesday's overtime win versus the Nets.

Al Jefferson racked up 35 points and 15 rebounds in the 116-111 victory. He has four double-doubles in the last five games, averaging 23.4 points and 11.4 rebounds in that time, and has scored at least 20 points in 29 of the previous 35 contests (25.5 ppg).

"I think if we continue to win games everything will take care of itself, everything will work out," Jefferson said afterward.

Kemba Walker had a double-double of his own versus the Nets and finished with 20 points and 12 assists. Chris Douglas-Roberts netted 16 points for the Bobcats, who have won six of nine games and are 12-7 since the All-Star break. Only the Nets (13-6), Bulls (13-6) and Raptors (12-7) have a better winning percentage over that span.

The Bobcats shot 50 percent for the game and improved to 22-4 when scoring 100 or more points.

Walker has been following Jefferson's lead as far as producing and has scored 20-plus points in three straight and five of six games.

Charlotte hopes to improve its 14-21 road record Friday against Orlando, which put the brakes on a nine-game losing streak with Tuesday's 95-85 triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Tobias Harris had 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Nikola Vucevic chipped in 22 points and 10 boards. Rookie Victor Oladipo contributed 13 points and six assists to help Orlando to its first win since March 2 versus Philadelphia.

"He's tough to guard," Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn said of Oladipo. "He had an imprint on the outcome of this game."

The Magic had as much as a 19-point lead at one point and held Portland to just 37.2 percent shooting on the night.

Orlando was winless on its previous four-game western trip and opened a four- game homestand with the impressive win over Portland. The Magic are 16-18 at home and in the midst of playing seven of eight games at Amway Center.

The Magic and Bobcats have split a pair of matchups this season with each team recoding victories as the guest. Charlotte has won four of the past five games in this Southeast series and is unbeaten in the last three in Orlando.

03/28 10:28:42 ET

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