Coming off one of their most impressive performances of the season on Monday night, the Orlando Magic kicked off a stretch of seven of eight games at home to finish the calendar year against the Charlotte Hornets. The Magic put together another impressive performance leading for almost the entire game in a 113-98 rout.
The Magic came out firing on all cylinders early, shooting the ball extremely well from beyond the arc, 5-of-7 in the quarter, thanks in large part to strong ball movement. The Magic picked apart a usually stout Hornets defense, penetrating at will, allowing easy passing lanes for Elfrid Payton. The Magic's ball movement was crisp, with the team notching an assist on their first nine field goals of the quarter. Orlando's strong play on the offensive end, coupled with some strong defense, allowed them to push their lead to as many as 12 in the quarter, before settling in with a seven point lead after one.
After a strong first quarter, the Magic didn't let up, continuing to move the ball at a high rate, while seeing shots falling consistently. After shooting 50 percent in the opening quarter, the Magic went 12-of-21 in the second, including knocking down four more three-pointers to finish the half with nine. Their defense also continued to play well, turning the Hornets over time after time, leading to easy buckets. After an 8-0 run to end the half, the Magic held their biggest lead of the game to that point, up 58-45 at the half.
With momentum heading into the halftime break, the Magic came out strong, pushing their lead up to as many as 18 in the quarter. While their ball movement wasn't as crisp -- they notched just five assists on 13 made field goals -- they were able to find quality looks thanks to their fluidity offensively. Their defense did enough to keep the Hornets at an arms distance throughout the quarter. Leading by 16 after three, things were looking good for the Magic to win their third in a row.
The Magic put out any potential Hornets run early in the quarter, pushing their lead to 20 early in the quarter, all but ending any hope the Hornets may have had. They continued to shoot the cover off the ball throughout the quarter, beating up an already lifeless Hornets team even more.
Seven Magic men finished in double figures, led by Channing Frye's season-high 17. Evan Fournier notched an efficient15, with Nikola Vucevic finishing the night with 14 points and eight rebounds. Tobias Harris added 13, while Payton finished the night with 12 points and nine assists. Victor Oladipo scored 11 off the bench, with Jason Smith rounding out the group with 10.
Jeremy Lamb led all Hornets, finishing with 16. P.J. Hairston added 14, with Kemba Walker finishing the night with 12.