One night after a furious comeback that came up just short against the Brooklyn Nets, the Orlando Magic suited back up, once again at home, to take on the Charlotte Hornets. A poor second quarter was all the Hornets needed to cruise to a 98-90 win.
After playing sluggish basketball in three of four quarters last night, the Magic came out flat once again against the Hornets. The offense had no flow, and, like most nights, was relying on players to isolate to try to find offense, resulting in them making just three of their first 13 shots. However, with Luke Ridnour inserted into the lineup to run the offense, the Magic began to heat up, hitting five of their final eight shots in the quarter. The Hornets, who are playing without their best player in Al Jefferson, couldn't slow down Nikola Vucevic, who led all scorers with 10. Kemba Walker picked up where he left off last Saturday night, scoring seven in the opening quarter for Charlotte.
The second quarter, the wheels fell all the way off a rolled out of state for the Magic. Nothing went right on either end of the floor and the team just appeared to be completely unraveling in front of everyone. After making it a one point game at 30-29, the Magic went scoreless for the remaining 6:58 of the quarter, with the Hornets going on a dominating 22-0 run. Things looked extremely bleak for the Magic, and no matter what coach Jacque Vaughn tried, his team still did not respond. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led all scorers with 13, while Vucevic's 10 continued to lead the Magic,
Out of halftime, the Magic showed a better energy level, cutting the Hornets massive 23-point lead down to 13 just under four minutes into the quarter. However, that energy was short lived, as the Hornets quickly pushed the lead back up to around 20 points. The Magic were unable to string together stops, while also having success on the offensive end of the floor. Despite the struggles, the Magic did a few things well: they turned the ball over zero times, and cut seven points off the Hornets lead. Kemba Walker's 18 led all scorers, while Vucevic continued to lead the Magic, finishing with 16 through three quarters.
With the lead at 16, and the game seemingly in hand, the Hornets seemed poised to put it in cruise control. To their credit, the Magic continued to fight, no matter how much the Hornets were able to get up. Orlando was able to get the lead under double digits with under two minutes to play, but the deficit once again proved to be too much as the Hornets held on for a big win.
Four Hornets finished in double figures, led by Walker who finished with a game high 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Kidd-Gilchrist notched his 11th career double-double, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds, with Gary Neal scoring 16 off the bench. Cody Zeller rounded out Hornets in double figures, finishing with 12 on the night.
The Magic's lead triumvirate of Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris and Vucevic carried the bulk of the scoring on the night. Oladipo led the team with 21 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals. Vucevic finished with a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double, with Harris finishing with an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double of his own.