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Magic 103 Hornets 117: Hornets lead entire way, sting Magic in Charlotte

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The Magic dropped their final game of the season in Charlotte.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Playing in their final game of the regular season, the Orlando Magic traveled to Charlotte to take on the playoff-bound Hornets. Charlotte controlled the game from the tap, knocking the Magic off 117-103.

Charlotte got off to a quick start, shooting the cover off the ball early on, knocking down 61.5 percent of their shots, including five three balls. The Magic's offense struggled early on, appearing stagnant against the Hornets strong defensive pressure. The Magic's inability to get stops, as well as inconsistency on the offensive end proved to be costly against a Hornets side firing on all cylinders. After one, the Magic found themselves down 16, 38-22 against their division rivals.

After a bad opening quarter, the Magic began to settle into the game some in the second, showing signs of life on both ends. After giving up 61 percent shooting in the opening quarter, the Magic held the hosts to 44 percent shooting in the second period. However, due to their inability to turn the Hornets over -- Charlotte did not commit a first half turnover --and score consistently on their own, the Magic were only able to cut the Hornets once 22-point lead down to 13 before settling back in at 16 at the end of the half. At the half, Charlotte led 66-50.

Out of halftime, the Magic began to show some signs of life with the Hornets pulling many of their starters. After a somewhat quiet first half, Evan Fournier got things going in the third, scoring 11 of the Magic's 29 in the quarter, helping them get the lead under 10 for the first time since early in the first half. With their reserves playing, Charlotte got careless with the ball, turning the ball over five times, helping leading to eight fastbreak points for the Magic in the quarter. After three, the Magic were down just seven, 86-79.

Trailing by just seven, the Magic appeared to have a chance to knock off the Hornets, and keep them from moving up in the Eastern Conference standings. After a four-point trip cut the Hornets lead to two, Charlotte answered going on a 17-6 run to pull away and ultimately putting the Magic away. Down 11, Scott Skiles empties his bench, giving everyone but Brandon Jennings a chance in the seasons final game.

Al Jefferson led all scorers, finishing with 26 on the night. Troy Daniels added 13, with Spencer Hawes and Jeremy Lamb adding 12. Mavin Williams finished with 11, while Jeremy Lin added 10.

Aaron Gordon tied his career-high with 22 off the bench. In possibly his last game in a Magic jersey, Evan Fournier scored 22 as well. Nikola Vucevic scored 17 in the season finale, with Mario Hezonja adding 10.