ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Stephen Jackson scored 28 points, Raymond Felton had 16 and the Charlotte Bobcats held on for their sixth straight victory, 96-89 over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night.
Stephen Graham added 12 points to help the Bobcats pull away with a late 12-3 run for their first win in four chances this season against the Southeast Division leader. And they did it without All-Star Gerald Wallace, out with an injured left ankle.
Dwight Howard had 27 points and 16 rebounds, and Vince Carter finished with 23 points for the Magic, who had their eight-game winning streak snapped. Mickael Pietrus added 20 points in place of injured starter Matt Barnes, sidelined with a sprained left big toe.
But this one belonged to the Bobcats.
The up-and-down Bobcats have now beaten Cleveland, Orlando and the Lakers this season and are jostling for playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Yet they've lost twice to a New Jersey team that's challenging for the worst record in NBA history.
This Bobcats' win would be just as rocky.
They had a shot-clock violation, an inbounds-pass violation and several passes that went awry in the opening half. Couple that with some spotty defense in the paint, and Howard had the Magic ahead by six points early.
Charlotte came back and went ahead 24-19 after Howard got in foul trouble. The Bobcats cleaned up some of those mistakes and held on to a slim lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Jason Williams' 3-pointer brought the Magic within 72-71 to start the final period. That did little to rattle Charlotte or ignite an Orlando team that was sluggish a night after winning in Washington.
The Bobcats battled with Howard inside, frustrating the Magic center. He was called for an offensive foul for extending his arm into Tyson Chandler. And after throwing the ball to the corner and arguing with officials, Howard was whistled for his 14th technical foul of the season.
That was all part of a 12-3 run for the Bobcats that pushed them ahead 84-74 about halfway through the fourth. The Magic trimmed the lead to 84-81 on a 3-pointer by Pietrus with 4:13 remaining, but Charlotte's relentless defensive pressure kept it in front.
NOTES: Orlando would have tied a franchise record with nine straight wins, done in 1994 and 2001. ... Magic coach Stan Van Gundy wasn't exactly thrilled with the early 6 p.m. start Sunday, especially not with losing an hour of sleep with Daylight Savings. "When you're in Washington the night before and you're setting the clocks an hour forward, I'm not sure that's the thing to do," Van Gundy said. ... Yankees ace CC Sabathia still managed to arrive for the second half after pitching four innings and giving up five runs in a 10-5 loss to the Pirates in Bradenton earlier Sunday.