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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, January 20th (All times eastern)

Orlando Magic (14-22) at Charlotte Bobcats (11-28), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The injury-depleted Charlotte Bobcats hope to avoid their sixth consecutive loss this evening when they welcome the Orlando Magic to town.

Charlotte continued to play short-handed on Wednesday, as it dropped a 98-92 decision to the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse. Brevin Knight netted 15 points with 15 assists for the Bobcats, who lost for the ninth time in their last 10 games.

Primoz Brezec and Raymond Felton each also finished with 15 points in the loss.

Charlotte was again without reigning Rookie of the Year Emeka Okafor (ankle), Kareem Rush (finger), Melvin Ely (ankle), Sean May (knee) and Jake Voskuhl (ankle). They are all expected to miss tonight's tilt as well, as the Bobcats will play with 10 or fewer players for the seventh time in the past eight games.

Ely and Voskuhl practiced on Thursday and both will be game-time decisions tonight, but the others are expected to remain sidelined.

Charlotte, which will start a three-game road trip in Milwaukee on Sunday, is 7-11 in its arena this season.

Orlando, meanwhile, comes in on a winning note after guard Steve Francis marked his return to action after being suspended two games with a 12-point, eight-rebound and seven-assist performance to help the Magic to their fifth straight home victory, 106-98, over Washington.

Jameer Nelson netted 22 points and DeShawn Stevenson scored 19 for Orlando, but the focus was on Francis. He was suspended last Thursday for conduct detrimental to the team and sat out losses to Portland and Sacramento that closed out the Magic's four-game west coast road trip. Francis did not start, and converted 2-of-7 shots in 31 minutes.

Tony Battie posted 14 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando, which won for just the second time in its last nine games overall.

The Magic, who return home for two games after tonight's tilt, are 4-13 away from home this season.

Orlando has defeated the Bobcats twice already this season and is 3-3 all-time versus Charlotte.

01/20 10:32:04 ET

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