Hornets Can’t Crack Magic Defense, Fall at Home to Orlando

Monk Notches 3rd 20-PT Game of Season, Charlotte’s Slide Extends to 7 Games
by Sam Perley

Postgame Coverage: Game Gallery | Fashion Gallery | Washington Highlights | Coach Borrego | PJ Washington

The Charlotte Hornets looked poised for a losing-streak-snapping win after a strong first quarter, but struggled offensively over the final three frames in a 106-83 home loss to the Orlando Magic on Monday, Jan. 20 at Spectrum Center.

Malik Monk finished with a team-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and two assists in 22 minutes off the bench, snapping an eight-game streak of scoring single-digit points. Fellow Kentucky alum PJ Washington was right behind him with 19 points (4-of-8 from three) and seven rebounds.

Orlando outscored the Hornets, 32-18, in the second quarter to take a six-point lead into the break. The visitors then uncorked a 14-3 run in the opening four minutes of the third to go up 17, and although the Hornets closed the frame on a 10-0 run to get back within seven, the Magic ran away with things down the stretch.

“Good start, poor second-quarter, fourth-quarter defense,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “Not enough urgency in scoring, some mistakes there in coverage to start the second quarter, not locked in. They got to the rim easy, weren’t running anything tricky. These aren’t things that we haven’t seen or any surprises with any plays. This is strictly just horrible execution, poor awareness, lack of professionalism coming out of the second quarter.”

He added, “No resistance at the rim. They just walked to the rim a few times for easy layups. When teams are doing that, it allows them to get good looks and it’s really nice for their offense. Obviously, we couldn’t get those going for ourselves, I would like to get to the rim and finish, but obviously we are having trouble right now finishing at the rim.”

Devonte’ Graham rounded out Charlotte’s double-figure scorers, finishing with 15 points (12 in the first quarter) and a team-high six assists. Willy Hernangómez added eight points on 3-of-3 shooting and Cody Zeller had four points and a team-high nine rebounds.

Evan Fournier (26 points) and Nikola Vučević (24 points) both had 20-point showings for Orlando, which won its third straight meeting against Charlotte. Terrence Ross had 19 points off the bench, 16 of which came in the first half and Markelle Fultz chipped in another 10 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Charlotte managed just 56 points over the final three quarters after scoring 27 in the first, shooting 38.2% from the field on the night. Orlando had just 11 turnovers leading to a mere five points for the Hornets, won the rebounding battle, 47-39 and topped the hosts, 20-8, in second-chance scoring.

The Hornets will now travel to Paris, France to face the Milwaukee Bucks for the NBA Global Games starting on Friday, Jan. 24 at 3 PM EST. Catch the game on Fox Sports Southeast or listen in on WFNZ 610 AM/102.5 FM or the Hornets app.

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