Hornets Head to All-Star Break Following Loss in Orlando
Poor Shooting, Defensive Struggles Send Charlotte to 4th Loss in 5 Games
By Sam Perley
The Hornets’ 13-game mastery of the Magic came to a decisive end as a slow start quickly spiraled into a 127-89 loss on Thursday, Feb. 14 in Orlando, FL. This marked the first time Charlotte has fallen to its Southeast Division rival since Dec. 16, 2015.
Malik Monk led the Hornets with a team-high 15 points on 7-of-16 shooting to go along with four rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes off the bench. This is Monk’s highest-scoring outing in his last five games and his fourth 15-point performance in his last eight contests.
Orlando led 18-13 midway through the opening frame, but widened the gap substantially with a 53-23 run over the next quarter and a half to give itself a 35-point halftime advantage. The Hornets never got close the rest of the way as the Magic coasted to a seventh win in eight outings.
“It was a combination of a number of things,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego after the game. “Not competing, not having pride about your job, not making shots. You have to give [Orlando] credit. They shot the ball very well. They played well. Give them credit.”
This was the second straight game Charlotte tallied a new season low for first-half points (36), going 14-of-53 from the field (26.4 percent) and 0-of-16 from three. Orlando’s 71 points at the break also matched the highest total allowed by the Hornets in any half this season.
Jeremy Lamb totaled 14 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Cody Zeller was also in double figures with 13 points and seven rebounds. Kemba Walker finished with just 10 points and three assists, snapping his franchise-record-tying five-game streak with at least 30 points.
Tony Parker (back) missed his fourth consecutive game for the Hornets and Bismack Biyombo was also unavailable (rest).
Terrence Ross scored a game-high 21 points off the bench for the Magic and newly-minted All-Star Nikola Vučević racked up 17 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for his 41st double-double of the year. Jonathan Isaac (16 points), Evan Fournier (12 points) and Aaron Gordon (10 points and 11 rebounds) also all had double-digit scoring performances for the Hornets.
Charlotte finished the night shooting just 35.1 percent from the field (33-of-94) and 12.9 percent on long-distance attempts (4-of-31). Orlando led by as many as 40 points in the second half and knocked down a blistering 17-of-39 shots from behind the arc (43.6 percent).
“[We didn’t] have enough energy on offense,” said Zeller. “We have to knock down open shots. This break will be good for everyone. Kind of get away, get refreshed physically and mentally and make a push after the break.”
The Hornets now head into the All-Star Break and will return to action with an all-home back-to-back that begins against the Washington Wizards on Friday, Feb 22 at 7 p.m. ET in Charlotte.