ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Frank Kaminsky was shooting 2 for 9 in the first three quarters as he watched his Charlotte Hornets trail the Orlando Magic by the score of 82-77. But in the final 12 minutes, Kaminsky hit all four of his shots from the field including 3 for 3 from downtown as the Hornets pulled out a 109-102 win over the Magic. Hornets All-Star point guard Kemba Walker led the Hornets in scoring with 22 points.
“You actually start searching your shot more. Your confidence is there. Like I said, once I saw that first one go in, I knew they would fall. It was not a matter of if.. it was when.” – Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky on his fourth quarter performance
Orlando’s two-game winning streak ended even though they were leading for most of the game. Terrance Ross led the Magic with 19 points, but he went scoreless in the final quarter. Charlotte’s defense forced the Magic to shoot 40 of their 88 shots from the three point line.
“That’s what their defense gives you. They’re 30th in the league, last in the league in the amount of threes that they give up because everything– you bounce the ball one time and they got five guys in the paint, they take that away and make you beat them over the top and I thought our guys came out and shot the ball with confidence for most of the night. We got cold late when it mattered.” – Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel on the amount of 3-point shots the Magic attempted
Kaminsky and Marco Belinelli led the Hornets bench as they outscored the Magic 46-32. Belinelli carried the Hornets in the opening half as he scored 16 of his 20 points in a variety of ways. He went 5 for 7 from the floor, went 3 for 4 from the 3-point line and hit all three of his free throw attempts as he singlehandedly kept the Hornets in the game.
“Well, our bench for the good part of the year hasn’t been a strength, and these last two or three games they’ve played a lot better. Tonight, I felt like in both halves they were key to us winning.” – Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford on his team’s bench perfomance
The Magic started out the game with the same fire and defensive energy that carried them in Monday’s win over Philadelphia. They held the Hornets to 37.5% from the floor and 0 of 5 from behind the 3-point line. They took a 6-point lead into the second quarter.
Mario Hezonja, who received increased minutes because Jeff Green was out with back spasms, effectively had 5 rebounds in the second quarter as he led the bench to help keep the Magic lead at 54-48.
The win helps keep the Hornets’ playoff hopes alive. They now sit three games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 11 games left to play. Their next game will be against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. Orlando’s 3-game home stand ends on Friday night as they play the Detroit Pistons. Detroit is another team fighting for that last playoff spot in the East as they stand 1.5 games out of the final spot.
Points of Interest:
- Nikola Vucevic had a career-high 8 assists in the game, as he also contributed 14 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in the game
- Charlotte outscored Orlando in the paint 50-34
- The Hornets scored 19 points off the 14 Magic turnovers in the game
Danny Thompson is a contributing sports reporter for Florida National News. He can also be found over at NBA Full Court Press Radio.