Hornets Win Big Against Orlando

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The Charlotte Hornets (33-34) prevail against the Orlando Magic (21-46), 122-112 at Spectrum Center. Not going to lie, It wasn’t pretty in the first half. Charlotte started slowly against a young Orlando team. Led by Dwayne Bacon, the Magic brought their spells to take advantage on both ends. In addition, Mo Bamba exerted his prowess with his length and agility to take care of Orlando’s defense. By the end of the 1st, Orlando led 31-26.

In the second, LaMelo Ball picked up his play against the other night, surpassing his point total with ten already with 2:00 left. It was a rookie-to rookie matchup with LaMelo and Cole Anthony trading baskets. Both teams closed the quarter with runs on their own, but Orlando led a close 62-60 by halftime. At the break, the Hornets knew they had to step up their play. In the back of their heads, it was a must-win for them after a blowout loss yesterday.

The Trio of P.J Washington, Terry Rozier, and Ball lit up the box score in the third. The Hornets went on a run which gave them the lead 74-73 at the 7:53 mark of the third courtesy of Ball’s layup. The Hornets played with complete assertion, Jaden McDaniels and Bismack Biyombo provided the needed support. The fourth quarter was pretty much the start of an end for Orlando was Charlotte’s lead was too big to catch up. In addition, Ball’s 14 and Rozier’s 15 in the second half were enough to get the win.

After three years in the hive, Dwayne Bacon had his night against his former team. He performed from start to finished with 28 points and four rebounds. The young backcourt of Cole Anthony and R.J Hampton was also impressive with 20 and 16, respectively. In addition, what was also remarkable was Mo Bamba’s 18 rebounds this game. As a team, the Magic shot a 41.8% field goal percentage but only going 30% from three.

Star of the Game

Rozier had an awkward fall in the midway of the second, leading to a mild ankle sprain. He picked himself up, tighten his shoelaces, and kept going. At the end of the game, he had 28 points, six assists, and five rebounds. His ability to shot the Ball has him on top of the opposing’s scouting report. With LaMelo’s playmaking, Rozier had a lot of catch and shoot opportunities, most of them in the second half. In the postgame interview, Rozier had this to say about his ankle;

“If my ankle still knocks on wood, then no doubt I’m gonna play…This is my profession and what I love to do”.

His postgame statements show a lot about his determination to go out every single night and perform. As the season starts to end, each game for the Hornets becomes meaningful for their eventual season. Rozier has been one of the consistent players this season. Let’s hope it pays off well with a playoff spot within reach.

Biggest Concern

Eventually, with an undermanned Hornets team, just like the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s going to bite off at some time. As reported, Miles Bridges may not return for the rest of the season due to COVID Protocols. It increases the count to 3 key Hornets players (Gordon Hayward, Devontae Graham, Miles Bridges) that are unavailable right now. I cannot say enough on how crucial these next few games are for the Hornets. They are currently sitting 8th in the conference chasing Boston by two games. With this win tonight, the Hornets have a little breathing ground right now as Indiana at 9th is two games behind Charlotte. By the time the next few games are playing out, It would be unfortunate to finish the season without a complete lineup. However, with the time being, our current Hornets lineup should step up one way or another.

Surprise Contribution

As a starter, Jalen McDaniels has brought a lot on his plate, averaging 11 points per game. He’s been that three and D guy for some time now. Based on tonight’s performance, I was impressed, especially in the second quarter. It was smooth the way he carried himself on the offensive end. He wasn’t rushed but played his length to his advantage. His defensive awareness needs some work but overall played a solid game. It paid good dividends for him as he finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Also, I would love to note how he and LaMelo complemented one another as both connected on several plays after the other. He’s starting to understand his role on this team, and It has played off for him after the game.

Next Game

Its the clash of the Ball Bros! The Charlotte Hornets defend home court against the New Orleans Pelicans, May 9 Sunday at 4 pm PST.

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