EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jamal Mashburn will not play in Game 2 of the Hornets-Nets series. Jamaal Magloire will, and another big body could make a big difference for Charlotte.
Magloire will return from a one-game suspension Tuesday night when Charlotte and New Jersey resume their second-round series. The Nets lead 1-0 after winning a game that showed just how important the backup center position can be.
Nets center Todd MacCulloch hurt the Hornets badly in the third quarter after Elden Campbell went to the bench with his fourth foul. With Magloire unavailable to step in and defend MacCulloch, New Jersey's center had an easy time against 6-foot-8 Robert Traylor and scored 11 points in the quarter.
"If we had Magloire in at that point, I don't think they would have made that push," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "He's very important to our team, and I thought if we had him we probably would have won."
Mashburn, the team's leading scorer, has not played since Game 1 of the first round against Orlando. He remained in Charlotte on Monday and will not play in Game 2.
Mashburn has been suffering from anemia, vitamin deficiency and an inner ear infection. Silas said he hopes to have Mashburn back for Game 3 or 4.
The Hornets, particularly point guard Baron Davis, played poorly down the stretch of Game 1 but took solace from staying close to New Jersey despite missing two key components.
"I'd like to see (the Nets) miss two of their main guys and then still get it done. It's awfully tough, but we had our chances. To me, that's very encouraging," Silas said.
Magloire, who was suspended for a flagrant foul against Tracy McGrady in Game 4 of the Hornets-Magic series, stayed behind at the team hotel in New York while his teammates played Game 1.
He said he watched most of the game, turning away toward the end as Davis went the final 5:45 without taking a shot. New Jersey double-teamed Davis and took the ball out of his hands, and two of Charlotte's final possessions resulted in airballs from David Wesley and Stacey Augmon.
Jason Kidd scored six of New Jersey's final eight points, and the Nets held their own on the boards, getting outrebounded only 41-39.
The Hornets, however, will be a different team with Magliore backing up Campbell.
Silas said the Nets scored easily against Traylor because Traylor played in front of MacCulloch instead of staying behind him as he had been instructed.
MacCulloch was a big part of the Nets' early season success, but a foot injury hampered him the past two months. If he wants to duplicate his Game 1 output, he'll have to hope that Campbell gets into foul trouble again and he can remember some of the moves he put on Magloire back when the two were teammates and roommates on Canada's under-22 national team.
"It's going to be a different game with Jamaal playing. He gives them size and quickness, and he's a tough guy to score on because he has long arms and blocks shots well," MacCulloch said. "He's always been an aggressive player, but I think you reach a comfort level that comes with experience.
"I found that happened to me after I played a while. He's in his second year now and he's confident"
Magloire stuck around the practice court, working on his low-post moves for an extra 10 minutes after the team held a light workout at John Jay College in Manhattan.
He averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 23 minutes in Charlotte's four-game victory over Orlando in the first round, and Silas often played him instead of Campbell late in close games.
The Nets believe they have enough size off the bench in Aaron Williams and rookie Jason Collins to counter Charlotte's big men, and they'll likely continue to try to get the ball out of Davis' hands down the stretch until someone else proves he can beat them.
"This is the most important game of the series. If we can win tomorrow, it puts us in control and puts them on their heels a little," Scott said. "It was always (Pat Riley's) logic that Game 2 of a series was so important, especially for the home team. It sets you up for the rest of the series. You win one on the road, go up 3-1, then you can close it out at home."
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