Wednesday night’s game with the Charlotte Hornets was yet another example of why the Orlando Magic have the second-worst record in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
They were 12 minutes away from only their third three-game winning streak of the season. Instead, the Hornets rallied with a big fourth quarter to take a 109-102 victory.
Orlando led for a large portion of the game and carried a five-point lead into fourth quarter. Charlotte hit some big shots down the stretch and outscored the Magic 32-20 to overcome the deficit.
It’s not that the Magic did not play hard. They were just unable to finish the job and wound up losing all four games to the Hornets this season.
“It’s very painful. It’s very frustrating,” said Magic Coach Frank Vogel. “You don’t want to lose to a team four times. You just don’t. You’ve got to make plays down the stretch.”
While the Magic shot 46 percent from the field, they took 40 three-point attempts, making 14. Vogel has often expressed concern about taking too many long-distance shots, but was not overly concerned with Wednesday’s total.
“That’s what their defense gives you,” Vogel said. “They make you beat them over the top.”
Of the 10 Magic players who entered the game, everyone except Bismack Biyombo put up a three-point shot. No player shot more than two free throws.
Terrance Ross led the Magic with 19 points while Nikola Vucevic had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 22 points. Marco Bellinelli added 20.
The Magic fell to 26-46 on the season and 13-23 at home. Next up is a visit from the Detroit Pistons on Friday, who are still battling for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.