On a second night of a back to back at home to Charlotte, Magic take the sting out of the Hornets winning 117-108.
This is the second time this season Orlando have faced the same opponent, in the same building, two nights in a row.
THE WOES CONTINUE
On Sunday evening, Orlando looked comfortable for three quarters playing with good energy, good ball movement and shot the three well.
The final quarter was very different, the Magic scored just 4 points in the opening 8 minutes as Charlotte came from behind to take the win.
And Monday’s rematch started in similar fashion, three turnovers in the first 6 minutes and shooting just 26% in the first quarter put Orlando in a 11 point hole early.
Orlando started the second 12-0 before Charlotte replied with a bucket to stop the run.
Khem Birch was a big part of another run as he finished the first half with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists.
Devonte Graham and Gordon Hayward had a nice first half to keep Charlotte within touching distance of the Magic.
Orlando continued to play well for large parts of the third quarter, back to back threes from rookie point guard Cole Anthony helped give the Magic a 20 point lead.
But back came the Hornets for the second night running, led by Gordon Hayward who scored 11 of his 24 points in the third to cut the Magic lead to 11.
Both Sunday and Monday’s score were almost identical after three quarters, Sunday Orlando led going into the fourth quarter 86-74 and Monday 87-76.
The one thing Orlando did not want identical was a fourth quarter collapse but the Magic learnt their lessons.
Devonte Graham did his best to help Charlotte make a run scoring 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough on a career night for Cole Anthony.
Anthony finished with 21 points (8-12 FG’s) including four 3 pointers to along with 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.
I am beginning to really like what I’m seeing from our rookie point guard Cole Anthony who’s been thrown into the fire.
Since Markelle Fultz‘s season ending knee injury, Cole has started 10 games averaging 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists in 29.5 minutes.
He’s definitely beginning to look a lot more comfortable out on the floor, I believe some of that has to do with the return of Evan Fournier.
Fournier is being given more responsibility offensively, handling the ball with Anthony becoming more of a spot up shooter at the moment.
He’s making over 41% of his shots from beyond the arc, something this team lacking shooting, will need to continue seeing from the rookie.
Cole has a great opportunity with Fultz out to take bigger steps this year in his development but we know Steve Clifford will only give him more responsibility when he feels he’s ready.