The NBA’s second highest scoring team, the Orlando Magic, didn’t have trouble in that department against Charlotte Sunday evening. It was playing on the defensive end that was the primary issue.
A familiar face gave the Magic plenty of problems in the paint area, as former Orlando center Dwight Howard scored 22 points and collected 10 rebounds, helping lead the Hornets to a 120-113 victory. Charlotte point guard Kemba Walker was the game’s leading scorer with 34 points and 10 assists.
“The sense of urgency, I don’t think it was there for us this night,” Orlando forward Aaron Gordon said about the loss. “Just lackadaisical. We weren’t finding our man, we were letting them get too many second chance points and that’ll kill you.”
Orlando entered the contest coming off a 114-87 dismantling of the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night and seemingly looking like one of the NBA’s top teams early on. The Magic, who are averaging 117 points per game, have one of the most versatile units in the league.
Magic forward Evan Fournier had another solid night for Orlando, scoring 23 points. Leading the way for Orlando, however, was forward Jonathan Simmons, who came off the bench and scored 27 points.
Charlotte (3-3) led by as many as 16 points during the second half and were able to out-rebound Orlando 59-40 on the boards. The Magic were not their efficient selves from beyond the 3-point arc, shooting 11-of-33 (33 percent) from downtown and 42 percent as a team from the field.
The Magic (4-2) didn’t get much production from point guard D.J. Augustin, who recorded no points and went 0-of-7 from the field. Augustin did have five assists in the loss. Orlando center Nikola Vucevic was held to 15 points and 11 rebounds in his matchup against Howard.
Orlando is right back at it tonight when they face the New Orleans Pelicans (3-3) on the road. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.