An embarrassing 4th quarter saw Orlando surrender a large lead and fall to another defeat by 107-104 to the Charlotte Hornets in the Amway.
THE OPENING QUARTER
Gary Clark came in for an injured Aaron Gordon. The opening 4 buckets for Orlando were all in the paint from Nikola Vucevic, Cole Anthony and 2 from Evan Fournier.
Gordon Hayward was instrumental in everything Charlotte were doing. Charlotte had very active hands and it saw Orlando turn the ball over multiple times.
Gary Clark hit our opening 3 pointer, followed by Evan for a 9-14 lead on an 8-0 run. In the period Orlando were looking good attacking the paint and surprisingly were 5-10 from the 3, with Gary Clark hitting a pair. Magic had a lead by 24-29 at the close but also had 5 turnovers.
INTO THE SECOND QUARTER
It started with a Terrence Ross turnover which Bridges scored from. Khem Birch was all action on both ends of the court grabbing several important rebounds. Another offensive rebound this time by Clark saw him fire the ball out to Cole Anthony for a solid 3 that found nothing but net. Cole followed that up with another triple to take a 12 point lead.
After a no foul call on Vooch resulted in a 3 point Ball score Coach Clifford got a technical. Jordan Bone hit a valuable pair of 3’s as Orlando maintained a lead.
Charlotte were led by Hayward and they chipped away at the lead taking it from 13 down to 5.
A third Gary Clark bucket from the 3 of the half took the score to 50-58 at the break.
Orlando had 10 made 3’s season in the half, a season high for a first half. The ball had been shot well seeing Orlando have a 50% field goal percentage. Clark had possibly his best half in a Magic shirt, with good shooting and hustle.
THE THIRD QUARTER
The teams went toe-to-toe exchanging basket after basket through the opening 6 minutes. Each team was very active on the D.
A James Ennis 3 finally extended the Magic lead back to 13 with 5 minutes left of the 3rd. At that point Orlando were now 12 of 27 from 3 (44%). The Vooch assist on that Ennis 3 was the 23rd assist on 29 made buckets.
The biggest lead was twice extended to 14 but at the close it was 74-86.
INTO AN EMBARRASSING FOURTH QUARTER
An ugly shooting start and fouling for Orlando saw the lead cut to 5 in 3 minutes of play to 81-86. More sloppy play allowed Charlotte to get closer, cutting the lead to 2.
The Charlotte defence was aggressive and set up their levelling the game with 6:45 to go at 88-88. Orlando at this point had made only one basket in the quarter.
On 6 minutes Charlotte took the lead. After yet another turnover with 4 minutes to play Orlando trailed 99-90.
Fournier gave the Magic life with a pair 3’s to make the score 104-101 with 55 seconds remaining.
Twice Orlando failed to grab a defensive rebound and it resulted in Biyombo having free throws, missing both. Orlando finally took the rebound and raced up the court, seeing a corner 3 from Ross drop to tie the score with less than 9 seconds remaining, making it 104-104.
Charlotte inbounded the ball to Hayward and he drove at the basket for a layup for his 38th point of the night. Orlando failed to inbound the ball and the game was gone, then inexplicably decided to foul with 0.01 remaining.
FINAL SCORE 107-104
Orlando now drop to 12th in the East on a season record of 7-10.
Nikola Vucevic tallied his 12th double-double of the season with a team leading 22 points and 13 rebounds.
This was a third defeat in four games, each of those defeats could easily have been a win.
MOVING ON FROM AN EMBARRASSING FOURTH QUARTER
We go again tonight in the Amway as we match up again with Charlotte.
A full game review by Josh Cohen on the Orlando Magic website can be read here.