Hornets Find A Way Down in Orlando

Rozier, Ball, Oubre All Score 20+ PTS, Charlotte Wins For 7th Time in 8 Games
by Sam Perley

More Coverage: Game Gallery

Prior to his team’s outing in Orlando on Wednesday evening, Hornets Head Coach James Borrego pinpointed two specific things that were keying the team’s 6-1 stretch: defense and closing out fourth quarters. It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but he saw both elements once again in an ensuing 106-99 triumph over the Magic.

Charlotte got off to a sluggish start and found itself trailing by seven with 4:03 remaining in the third. Soon though, a five-man lineup of Terry Rozier, Cody Martin, Kelly Oubre Jr., Jalen McDaniels and Miles Bridges clamped down and uncorked an 18-3 run to go ahead, 85-77, just 53 seconds into the fourth. Orlando never got closer than five again.

“You just have to find ways to win in this league,” said Borrego afterwards. “The identity of a winning team, they just find different ways to win every night and it was a different script tonight. Different guys stepped up. Give that small group a ton of credit. We’re down seven, went small with Miles at five. They played extremely well, got the lead quickly and we maintained it from there on out.”

He added, “It starts on the defensive end [with that lineup]. We’ve done it with a little bit of our zone and our switchability in that lineup. It’s really started with our defense. We’re able to stay in front of the ball with that group. It’s tough to get the ball downhill. We’ve got length and size and as long as we can rebound, we can get out and run. We’re getting a lot of good looks.”

Rozier (27 points on 11-of-22 shooting), LaMelo Ball (22) and Oubre (21) all eclipsed the 20-point barrier, with Rozier also swiping a career-high six steals. Mo Bamba (18 points and 12 rebounds) and Wendell Carter Jr. (14 points and 11 rebounds) both double-doubled to lead all five Magic starters in double figures.

Orlando missed just one fewer shot on the same 93 attempts, although had five more turnovers than the visitors and took 11 less free-throw attempts. This also marked the third time in the last seven games the Hornets have held their opponent to under 100 points, after doing so just once in the first 13 contests of the season.

“We’re a very resilient group,” said Oubre, when asked about the team’s recent success. “We know where we want to be. Obviously, we’re still learning along the way. We’re still growing together as a unit, but at the end of the day, greatness is what we want and we have to continue to strive for that.”

The Hornets will now head back home to host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, Nov. 26 beginning at 7 PM ET at Spectrum Center.

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