So much for that win streak we promised you.
The Charlotte Hornets dominated from start to finish, winning 137-100, and leading by double digits for 40 straight minutes.
If you had trouble identifying the players on the court, don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with your television.
Late in the first, veteran Shelvin Mack was joined by a roster of G Leaguers, made up of Jamel Artis, Khem Birch, Rodney Purvis, and Wesley Iwundu.
It worked out as expected.
Magic trail the Hornets 72-49 at the half. No big surprise considering Orlando has four starters in street clothes— Orlando Pinstriped Post (@OPPMagicBlog) April 7, 2018
There was nothing Frank Vogel could do to stop the onslaught. Two timeouts in the first seven minutes weren’t enough to get the squad on track.
“Our four young guys, they got opportunities to play extended minutes and earn jobs and make a name for themselves, and they did not take advantage of that opportunity tonight,” Vogel said.
If losing is what the Orlando Magic want, they certainly gave it to their fans in the Amway Center on Friday.
Any fan of competitive basketball rolled their collective eyes once notified of the Magic’s intention to bench Nikova Vucevic (“back”), and Aaron Gordon (“calf”).
The two joined an ever growing list in the infirmary, including Jonathan Isaac, Jonathon Simmons, Terrence Ross, and Evan Fournier.
Tanking has rarely been so obvious. But following two wins against the Mavericks and the Knicks, the front office hardly had a choice. The Magic currently sit fifth in lottery odds, and could have fallen as far as ninth should they have run the remaining slate.
In an offseason where a house cleaning may be in order, they need all the firepower they can get, and they insured themselves of that chance by throwing this one out with the Friday night trash.
With but three games left to play, will Magic fans see Aaron Gordon and Nikova Vucevic in a Magic uniform ever again?
Aaron Gordon (sore calf) and Nikola Vucevic (tightness in back) are both out tonight. Not unrealistic to think we may never see either in a Magic uniform again. @PrestonEllis— Orlando Pinstriped Post (@OPPMagicBlog) April 6, 2018
Let’s table that discussion, while we get back into the game of the night.
Trailing 43-25 at the end of one, Frank Vogel called out the big guns in the form of two unlikely candidates:
Mo Speights and Arron Afflalo are on the court together...A sentence I thought I'd never get the chance to write again— Orlando Pinstriped Post (@OPPMagicBlog) April 6, 2018
It didn’t work.
The night belonged to Malik Monk and the Charlotte Hornets. Monk shot his way into a career-high with 26 points. He’s come to life lately, averaging 18 points per game in his previous three games.
Frank Kaminsky added 21, Marvin Williams put in 18, Jeremy Lamb and Kemba Walker each had 16, and Dwight Howard put in a healthy 16 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks.
The Hornets got what they wanted offensively, utilizing dribble penetrations, and the unfamiliarity of their opponents on the defensive end of the floor. The Hornets had allowed 118.5 points per game in their last five games, and were losers of their last four, but the Baby Magic just simply didn’t have the talent to keep up.
One feel good moment saw Khem Birch take a charge from the former Magic MVP, prompting the loudest ovation of the night.
The Lakeland Magic alums combined for 46 points on 20 of 42 shooting. The Magic were led by D.J. Augustin with 19 and Mo Speights with 14.
Next up the Magic head to Toronto Sunday night.
Spoiler Alert: You can expect more of the same.