Charlotte Hornets

Second-quarter surge gives Charlotte Hornets a win over Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic's Victor Oladipo on left, blocks a shot by Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walkerduring Wednesday night's game.
Orlando Magic's Victor Oladipo on left, blocks a shot by Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walkerduring Wednesday night's game. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

Poorly as the Charlotte Hornets started – they missed 10 of their first 11 3-point attempts – they were pretty special in the second quarter against the Orlando Magic.

Small forward Nic Batum led a 28-6 run to end the first half and build a 61-43 halftime lead. Orlando chipped a Charlotte lead of as much as 26 down to single digits before the Hornets held on, 107-99, at Time Warner Cable Arena.

This was the longest homestand in franchise history and the Hornets finished it 6-1 to improve to 38-29. They play the Heat in Miami on Thursday before returning to Charlotte for home games Saturday (Denver Nuggets) and Monday (San Antonio Spurs).

Batum finished with 26 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Power forward Marvin Willliams added 26 points and nine rebounds. Kemba Walker finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.

The Hornets dominated the boards 59-40. Center Cody Zeller finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

The Magic was led by Victor Oladipo with 25 points.

Three who mattered

Batum: His all-around offensive skills, particularly in the second quarter, turned this game around.

Zeller: He and Al Jefferson complement each other well at center.

Williams: He made four of his first seven 3-point attempts.

Observations

▪ The Magic game was the last of a franchise-record, seven-game homestand. The Hornets play 10 of their remaining 15 games on the road, but that’s not as daunting as it once was: The Hornets won five of the previous seven road games.

▪ Thursday’s game in Miami closes out the season series with the Heat. The Heat leads that series 2-1, so it can clinch a tiebreaker with a victory.

▪ Something you seldom see: It took Walker 5  1/2 minutes to take his first shot Wednesday.

▪ How good was Batum in the second quarter? Sixteen points on 7-of-10 shooting and four assists.

▪ The Hornets had a 31-21 rebounding advantage in the first half. Jefferson and Zeller combined for 15 first-half rebounds.

Worth mentioning

▪ Saturday’s home game against the Nuggets will tip off at 6 p.m., rather than the normal 7 p.m.

▪ The Magic played without two of its better big men in center Nik Vucevic and forward Ersan Ilyasova.

▪ Orlando also played without point guard Elfrid Payton (sprained right elbow).

They said it

“I think the energy that I bring to the team is important for us. I got everyone going. Nic [Batum] and Kemba [Walker] played well, so I took it upon myself to come out with a lot of energy.” – Hornets center Cody Zeller

“I said at the start of the season, that our depth is going to be our strong-point, and it really is.” – Marvin Williams on the Hornets’ bench.

“We had [a] very bad start, I mean myself too. I did a pretty terrible job through the first quarter, so we had to wake up. I had to wake up.” – Hornets forward Nic Batum on the early eight-point deficit.

Report card

B OFFENSE: They overcame a 1-of-11 start from 3-point range.

B+ DEFENSE: The Magic was a little short-handed, but the Hornets’ only struggle defensively was containing Oladipo.

A- COACHING: The Hornets started slow for the second game in a row, but they never let Orlando build a double-digit lead.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell

 
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