Hornets Respond with Road Win in Orlando
Bridges Scores 30+ PTS Again, Hornet Start 4-1 For 1st Time Since 2016-17
Coming off the Hornets first loss of the season on Monday night, Head Coach James Borrego was eager to see how his team would respond two days later down in Orlando. It might have taken until the fourth quarter, but he finally saw what he was looking for, leading to a 120-111 road victory over the Magic.
Charlotte mostly found itself neck and neck with Orlando until about midway through the fourth quarter, when back-to-back three-pointers by Jalen McDaniels and LaMelo Ball kicked off a 10-2 run to give the team a six-point lead. The visitors continued to get stops as the clock ticked down, eventually finishing with seven steals, while allowing just 18 points in the frame.
“What got us through tonight was our bench. They were fantastic,” said Borrego after the win. “We got to be better, but we’ll teach and learn off of this and I expect a better start in Miami [on Friday]. We were much more active there in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter. We have to get closer to that for 48 minutes, but we got our hands on balls. That’s our defense. We’re much more active, we’re physical.”
Miles Bridges was sensational once again, putting up 31 points and five three-pointers for his sixth career 30-point game and third already this season. The Hornets, who were without Terry Rozier and PJ Washington once again, also got a pair of season highs from reserves McDaniels (16 points) and Cody Martin (12).
Added Borrego when asked about Bridges, “His poise and his confidence, you can just see it. It’s oozing out of him. His confidence to make plays, get to the rim, shoot the ball. He believes in his teammates and you can see the belief in himself. Very confident kid. He’s willing us right now. You can feel his will to push us and lead us to wins.”
Even with some key players having off nights and also the aforementioned Rozier and Washington absences, the Hornets still found a path to victory, even if it wasn’t necessarily pretty. Good teams in the NBA find ways to win and they also close out tight games in the fourth quarter, something Charlotte couldn’t accomplish in Monday’s loss to the Celtics.
“We just had to get stops,” stated Martin. “That was the biggest thing, that was the biggest difference. I think in the Boston game, we had a couple turnovers towards the end that we needed to clean up. In reality, we had chances in that Boston game that we didn’t take advantage of, but I think we learned from that. We had another game where it was kind of close until the end… I feel like we’re growing as a team in those areas.”
The two-game trip concludes for the Hornets on Friday night, as they’ll look to move to 4-0 on the road this season when they face the Miami Heat starting at 7:30 PM ET.