Shorthanded Magic Unable to Keep Pace With Hornets

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Markelle Fultz, making his second straight start, recorded 12 points, five rebounds, and six assists and Chuma Okeke, also in the starting lineup with Orlando so shorthanded, tallied 20 points, but the Magic had no answer for the Charlotte Hornets’ fast-paced offense in Thursday’s 128-101 loss at the Spectrum Center.

Key Stretch

The Hornets blew the game open in the second quarter behind a 20-2 run. Montrezl Harrell, acquired by Charlotte at the trade deadline from Washington, scored six of his 14 points during that surge, while LaMelo Ball had five of his 26 points.

Key Stats

Charlotte totaled 27 fast break points, a category they rank second in the league in behind Memphis. They also took 27 free throws, 14 more than Orlando. The Magic had 16 turnovers, slightly above their season average.

Injury Report

Franz Wagner (right ankle), Cole Anthony (left toe), Wendell Carter Jr. (left wrist), Gary Harris (personal reasons), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), Admiral Schofield (knee) and Bol Bol (foot) were out for Orlando. Mo Bamba left in the first quarter with a right ankle sprain. Gordon Hayward (foot) was unavailable for Charlotte.

This Day in History

On April 7, 2019, the Magic clinched their first playoff berth since 2012 with a victory in Boston. Terrence Ross scored 26 points off the bench, Nikola Vucevic had 25 points and 12 rebounds, Evan Fournier tallied 24 points, and D.J. Augustin dished out 13 assists. Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 23 points.

Rivals Report

Expect the Hornets this offseason, even if they somehow make the playoffs, to add a defensive ace or two to their roster. While electric offensively with Ball running the show, their 24th-ranked defense made them very inconsistent. Charlotte had some of the wildest streaks throughout this season. In one stretch in late November, they won eight out of nine. In another stretch in late January-early February, they lost 11 of 13.

Quote of the Night

“I think that my body has been doing a great job of responding. Of course, just listening to the training staff and doing what I need to do as far as recovery – my body has done an unbelievable job. I’m just happy to be where I’m at today and be able to finish out the season strong.” – Fultz

Up Next

The Magic’s 2021-22 season comes to an end Sunday when they host the Miami Heat at 7 p.m. It remains to be seen if the Heat will have anything at stake for this matchup. They can clinch the No. 1 seed in the East with a win over the Hawks on Friday. If they do end up entering the playoffs as the top seed in the conference, it would be the fourth time doing so in franchise history.