Diminutive point guard Jameer Nelson tied a career playoff high for points as the Orlando Magic defeated the Charlotte Bobcats, 90-86, in Game 3 on Saturday, April 24 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

For the second time in the series, Nelson scored 32 points while knocking down five three-pointers to help the Magic take a commanding 3-0 game lead in the best-of-seven series.

With All-Star center Dwight Howard (13 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks) on the bench for the final moments of the game, Nelson and reserve center Marcin Gortat scored five of the Magic’s final seven points to close out the game after Charlotte took a brief lead. Howard was in and out of the lineup all afternoon before fouling out with just over three minutes remaining.

After a Raymond Felton free-throw put Charlotte up 80-79, Rashard Lewis scored the next four points to give Orlando the lead for good.

With new Charlotte majority owner Michael Jordan seen giving advice to Charlotte leading scorers Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace, the two forwards shot 10-for-30 and 3-for-11, respectively, from three-point range. Jackson missed a wide open three-point attempt with less than 30 seconds remaining that would have given Charlotte a two-point lead.

Orlando will try to close out the series in Game 4 on Monday, April 26.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO