Hornets Eyeing Back-to-Back Road Sweep in Orlando

by Sam Perley
  • Charlotte Hornets (7-9) at Orlando Magic (7-10)
  • Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 at 7 PM EST (Amway Center)
  • Fox Sports Southeast, FOX Sports GO App and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 107-104, on Jan. 24, 2021 in Orlando

Bench Play Stands Out in Opening Win of Back-to-Back

After struggling in Friday’s home loss to Chicago, the Charlotte bench kept the Hornets afloat throughout last night’s win in Orlando, getting major contributions from both Miles Bridges (18 points and six rebounds) and rookie LaMelo Ball (11 points and eight assists). The Hornets’ reserves topped their Magic counterparts in points by a margin of 35-25, while shooting 50% and 4-of-11 from long distance (36%). Trailing by double digits for a majority of the second half certainly wasn’t ideal for the Hornets, but their bench play was absolutely crucial in helping the team outscore the Magic by a decisive 15 points across the final quarter of action.

Attack the Basket More and Generate Free-Throw Opportunities

Orlando entered last night’s meeting with the Hornets averaging the fewest personal fouls of any team in the league per game (17.4). The Magic finished right at that mark with 18 leading to just 16 free-throw attempts, although did put Charlotte in the bonus with just under seven minutes remaining in the fourth, a development that possibly affected the team’s defensive strategy down the stretch. The starting backcourt of Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier struggled to get going offensively until the final frame, so attacking the basket earlier and more often could help open things up a bit more for the Hornets duo.

Work on Slowing Down Orlando’s 3-Point Shooting

The Magic connected on a season-high-tying 17-of-38 attempts from long distance last night, which was nearly seven more than the team averaged per contest heading into the game (10.4 - ranked 26th in the league). All five Orlando starters hit multiple three-pointers as the Hornets elected to throw multiple bodies at big man Nikola Vučević, who finished the evening with a modest 22 points on 9-of-22 shooting. Being a touch sharper on rotations and contesting a few more shots should increase the live-ball rebounding to where the Hornets can create additional transition opportunities (14 points on 6-of-8 shooting on the fast break last night).

Preview Quote

“It’s interesting that we have another game tomorrow against the same team. We have to try and be better tomorrow night. I know [Orlando] is going to be frustrated and disappointed with how they gave up a huge lead and loss this one. We have to be better tomorrow.” – Gordon Hayward following Sunday’s night road win over Orlando.

Final Thoughts

On the cusp of extending their losing streak to five games last night, the Charlotte Hornets righted the ship in the fourth quarter to ultimately squeeze out their first victory in almost two weeks. Starting the second head-to-head meeting in 24 hours with the same energy and intensity that they finished with last night will be key to picking up consecutive road victories.

Additional Notes

F Aaron Gordon (hip and back soreness), F Al-Farouq Aminu (right knee injury recovery), G Markelle Fultz (torn left ACL), F Jonathan Isaac (left knee injury recovery), F Chuma Okeke (left knee bone bruise) and G Michael Carter-Williams (left foot sprain) were all out for yesterday’s game… Orlando had won four straight games against Charlotte before last night’s defeat… After starting the season 6-2, the Magic have now lost eight of its last nine appearances.

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