Note: since there is no basketball, and we were supposed to have games, we will imagine there were games. With the help of AccuScore, Strat-o-Matic and Basketball Prospectus, we can imagine an NBA season even if there is not one actually going on. So with that, we begin to imagine the 2011-12 season.
One thing is certain after one game. The Magic need Dwight Howard on the floor.
Without him, the Magic are good, but not great. What is good? Maybe it is not playoff good.
Dwight Howard struggled with foul trouble all game and never could find his rhythm. Playing the sporadic offense from Charlotte helped keep the score close, but it was clear how much the team needed Howard to keep going.
Corey Maggette had 27-point out pouring, helping spur an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter that gave Charlotte a quick 12-point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Bobcats held off the typical late-game heroice of Jason Richardson, his three with 18 seconds left pulled Orlando within two, but on a weird night at Amway Center it was enough to pull off a surprising start to the season.
The hangover might still exist. The Magic lost 90-86 to the Bobcats in the Strat-o-Matic simulation.
Charlotte and foul trouble limited Howard to only 12 points and five rebounds, as he played only 20 minutes. With Howard's impact minimized, Charlotte was able to keep the score low and slog through until somebody could get hot.
That somebody was Corey Maggette and the scoring onslaught at the beginning of the fourth was enough to pull out the win.
Jason Richardson had 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Brandon Bass added 16 and J.J. Redick had 15. But those were more to stem the tide than bolster the Magic. The defense was good enough because Charlotte's offense is so poor. But these kinds of struggles will not bode well for the Magic in the future.
The team needed Dwight Howard on the floor. And he could not be there.
The Magic had a better effective field goal percentage, but gave up ground on the boards. That was a product of Howard not being on the floor. Charlotte showed that its tough defensive mentality still exists. And that is going to be tough to crack when the linchpin on the bench.
The Magic have a lot of work to do. Luckily, this is just one game (and a simulated one at that).
AccuScore did not give the Magic much more hope.
The Bobcats won that game 84-80 with Charlotte putting five players in double figures with 10 or 11 points.