Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets clobber Orlando Magic; starters sit 4th quarter

Charlotte Hornets' Cody Zeller (40) tries to steal the ball from Orlando Magic's Bismack Biyombo (11) during the first half Friday.
Charlotte Hornets' Cody Zeller (40) tries to steal the ball from Orlando Magic's Bismack Biyombo (11) during the first half Friday. AP

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford got that dominant performance at home finally.

Some terrific shooting in the second and third quarters pushed the Hornets to a 29-point lead, which they rode to a 109-88 victory at Spectrum Center Friday.

The Hornets were so good through three quarters that the starters sat out the fourth. Nic Batum finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Kemba Walker scored 15 points, the first time this season he hasn’t reached 17.

Evan Fournier scored 14 for the Magic. Orlando is 10-14.

The Hornets extended their winning streak to three games. They are 14-9 and 8-6 at home.

Three who mattered

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: After going scoreless Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons, he scored 14 points in the first half Friday, on 6-of-8 shooting.

Batum: A triple-double was within reach if he had played the fourth quarter.

Ramon Sessions: A big spark off the bench, making five of his first six shots.


▪  This was the Hornets’ last home game until Dec. 20, when they will host the Los Angeles Lakers. The Hornets start a five-game road trip, all against Eastern Conference teams, Saturday at Cleveland.

▪  Hornets coach Steve Clifford said the biggest challenge against the Magic this season is matching up with their great size. Nikola Vucevic, Serge Ibaka and ex-Charlotte Bobcat Bismack Biyombo combine for plenty of length.

▪  The Hornets entered Friday’s game with no injuries, which is certainly a departure from the season’s first month. Only three Hornets – Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions and Marco Belinelli – played in each of the first 22 games.

▪  Shooting guard Nic Batum was on a string of three double-double games heading into the Magic game. In that span, he’s averaged 14.3 points, 12.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists.

▪  Ex-Bobcat D.J. Augustin, now starting for the Magic, banked in a 3-pointer in the third quarter to beat the shot clock.

Worth mentioning

▪  Vucevic played Friday night, despite having suffered a right corneal abrasion.

▪  The Hornets missed their first five shots from 3-point range before Frank Kaminsky made one about four minutes into the second quarter.

▪  Cody Zeller had five rebounds in his first 10 minutes Friday, three of them offensive.

Report card

A OFFENSE: A terrific turnaround after shooting 35 percent and scoring 20 points in the first quarter.

A DEFENSE: They did a fine job of guarding relentlessly without fouling.

A COACHING: They took care of business at home before a challenging back-to-back in Cleveland.

Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell