Sorry, Hornets. This Magic team is a little different than the one you had defeated 13 straight times.
Earlier in the season, Charlotte dominated Orlando twice, with victories of 32 and 25 points, while extending a 13-game winning streak over the Magic that dated back to 2015. Things have since changed.
The Magic took 13 games of frustration out on the Hornets in one night by crushing them, 127-89, on Thursday for their largest margin of victory over Charlotte in franchise history. The win was the fifth straight for Orlando, and seventh in eight games, for their first five-game winning streak since 2015. It was the Magic’s second straight win of 30 points or more.
And most importantly, the victory improved Orlando’s record to 27-32 heading into the All-Star break, putting them within a half game of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Orlando Magic are good at basketball— Orlando Pinstriped Post (@OPPMagicBlog) February 15, 2019
The Magic again started fast, shooting 56.5 percent in the first quarter. Evan Fournier led the way early, scoring 10 in the quarter as the Magic took a 33-18 lead.
Terrence Ross and Jonathan Isaac took over offensively in the second quarter, scoring nine points each, as the Magic outscored the Hornets 38-18 in the quarter. They went into the break with a 71-36 lead, matching the most points they’ve scored in a half this season and also matching their largest lead of the season.
Defensively, the Magic held the Hornets to 26.4 percent shooting in the half, including 0-for-16 from three. Longtime Magic killer Kemba Walker was limited to 10 points on just 4-of-17 shooting.
The lead only grew in the second half, reaching as many as 40 in the closing minutes, with the highlight of the half being this dunk by Ross....
Every player scored for the Magic, led by Ross, who finished with 21 points on 8 of 15 shooting. Nikola Vucevic, in his final game before heading to Charlotte for All-Star Weekend, added 17 points and 11 rebounds. Isaac’s strong play continued as he finished with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, six rebounds, one block and one steal. Fournier had 12 points and six assists. Aaron Gordon had 10 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Wes Iwundu contributed 10 points, bringing the grand total of Magic players in double figures to six. D.J. Augustin added eight points and seven assists and zero turnover, serving as the leading distributor for an Orlando team that had 32 assists on 48 made baskets.
The Magic shot 52.2 percent, including 17 of 39 from three (43.6 percent).
Malik Monk had 15 points to lead the Hornets, who shot just 35.1 percent. Walker, an All-Star starter who will be teammates with Vooch on Team Giannis, was scoreless in the second half, finishing with 10 points on 4-for-20 shooting (0 of 7 from three).
The day began with the Magic introducing Markelle Fultz, who sat on the Orlando bench for the first time since being acquired. It ended with the Magic routing a team that has long given them fits to inch closer to that elusive playoff spot. In addition to being just a half game behind the Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat, the Magic also gained a full game on the seventh-seeded Hornets and now sit just one game behind them.
The Magic now head into the All-Star break playing as well as they have since their rebuild began in 2012.