Hornets Split Back-to-Back Road Series in Orlando

After Promising Opening Quarter, Charlotte Struggles to Keep Pace with Magic
by Sam Perley

More Coverage: Game Action Gallery | Pregame Fashion Gallery | Coach Borrego Interview | Devonte' Graham Interview | Cody Zeller Interview

There would be no repeat double-digit comeback for the Charlotte Hornets in their second outing in two nights in Orlando as a rough middle two quarters sealed their fate in a 117-108 loss on Monday, Jan. 25 at the Amway Center.

Gordon Hayward led the Hornets in scoring for the fourth consecutive game, finishing with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. And after scoring just 17 total points over his last two outings, Terry Rozier also tallied another 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting (4-of-6 from three) and two assists.

Charlotte got off to the start it wanted, taking an 11-point lead into the start of the second quarter. From there though, the Magic reversed course and outscored the Hornets, 68-46, over the next two frames to go up 87-76 heading into the final 12 minutes of action. The visitors had a few chances to shift momentum down the stretch, but ultimately never really got anything major going over the last several minutes.

“Poor second quarter,” said Coach Borrego when asked about the turning point. “Obviously we didn’t make shots. We went through a drought there. They made shots, so give them credit. It was just a little bit too late of a run there in the fourth quarter. I thought the second quarter cost us on both ends of the floor. It started with our offense. It’s unfortunate because we got off to such a great start and came out with the right mindset, but could not sustain it.”

Devonte’ Graham notched his second 20-point game in three appearances, racking up 21 points, five rebounds and three assists. Cody Zeller (season-high 11 points) and Miles Bridges (10) both scored in double figures off the bench, with the former also grabbing a team-high-tying seven rebounds in the process.

Orlando picked up just its second win in the last 10 games thanks in large part to Nikola Vučević’s game-high 28 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Cole Anthony (21 points), Evan Fournier (19), Dwayne Bacon (15) and Aaron Gordon (12 points and 11 rebounds) also all had double-digit scoring performances for the host Magic.

One night after tying a season high with 17 three-pointers, Orlando established a new campaign best by going a blistering 19-of-37 from long distance (51%). The Magic also won the rebounding battle by seven (49-41) and shot 48% from the field overall on the night. Of note, this contest marked the first time in league history that two female officials – Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder – both refed together in the same regular season game.

The Hornets will now kick off a three-game homestand against the Indiana Pacers beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7 PM EST. Catch all the action on Fox Sports Southeast, the Fox Sports GO app and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM.

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