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Hornets 120, Magic 116 (OT): Charlotte stuns Orlando with late rally

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Despite some incredible plays from Victor Oladipo, the Magic couldn't preserve a 19-point advantage at home.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you thought the Orlando Magic reached rock bottom Wednesday when they fell to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers at home, you were mistaken.

Friday evening the host Magic blew what had been a 19-point lead against the Charlotte Hornets, who went on a 21-3 run late in the fourth quarter to nearly claim victory in regulation, only to watch as Victor Oladipo banked in a difficult three-pointer with 5.3 seconds to play as Orlando forced overtime.

Hornets star Kemba Walker scored 40 points--the fourth time in his five-year career he's dropped at least 30 on the Magic--and the lightly regarded reserve Troy Daniels added 17. Spencer Hawes tallied 16 points and 10 rebounds, including the go-ahead three-pointer in overtime.

Oladipo continued his outstanding January by shooting 11-of-19 from the floor for 29 points. His strip of Walker and ensuing driving dunk gave the Magic a one-point edge with 26.3 seconds to play in overtime.

The Magic led by as much as 19 points on the night, but their 5-of-19 shooting fourth quarter let the Hornets right back into the game, and they took advantage.

Orlando built a six-point halftime edge with crisp offensive execution. Elfrid Payton set the tone early in the game with aggressive drives to set up looks for his teammates, and the Magic as a whole did a much better job of moving the ball side to side, keeping the pressure on the Hornets. Payton dished seven assists in the first half, and Orlando finished with 17 dimes on 23 baskets. Even better, the home team committed only six turnovers.

Tobias Harris has struggled overall of late, leading some fans to call for him, not Channing Frye, to get benched in Aaron Gordon favor. It came as a welcome sign, then, that Harris kept his head down and drove to the basket early on after he missed a few open jumpers.

Despite being undermanned--the Hornets were without borderline All-Star candidate Nicolas Batum and starting center Cody Zeller word--Charlotte kept the game close with its offensive rebounding, of all things. The visitors snagged five offensive boards in 23 first-half opportunities, which isn't an outstanding percentage, but they made the most of those five second-chance shots. When the Hornets' perimeter players beat Orlando's defenders off the bounce, its back-line bigs had to rotate over, in turn freeing their men to crash the glass with aplomb.

Which explains how Tyler Hansbrough, averaging only 2.2 points and 1.9 rebounds per game on the season, mustered six points and two boards in eight first-half minutes.

Oladipo put the Magic on his back in the third quarter, helping Orlando grow its lead by scoring 14 on 5-of-6 shooting. He shot the ball with confidence and made smart plays with the ball, and Charlotte simply didn't have an answer for him. The Magic also made the most of Charlotte's frequent misses, changing ends with a purpose and scoring with ease. Harris scored eight of his 10 points in the period on such chances.

With victory almost assured, the Magic reverted to some bad habits in the fourth quarter. The crisp ball movement and smart decision-making which buoyed them in the opening three periods evaporated, and instead Orlando over-dribbled and took iffy shots. As a result, Charlotte crept its way back into the game. Reserve guard Brian Roberts and Hawes combined to score nine straight points, trimming Orlando's lead to just four points with 2:45 to play.

Magic coach Scott Skiles called a timeout at that juncture, but it didn't have the desired effect: Orlando committed unforced errors on its next two possessions, leading to two turnovers. Walker scored eight straight points to give the Hornets a three-point lead with 12 seconds to play in regulation, but Oladipo got the best of him on Orlando's ensuing trip, banking in a deep three-pointer with 5.3 seconds to go to force overtime.

Oladipo put together another set of electrifying plays late in overtime, stripping Walker and going coast-to-coast for an emphatic slam which gave the Magic a one-point advantage.

But Charlotte answered as Daniels drove-and-dished to Hawes in the left corner for a three-pointer on the Hornets' next trip and Orlando would never lead again.

Orlando has now lost nine of its last 11 games.

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