The Charlotte Hornets came into tonight’s game looking to improve their offense a bit. In the last couple games they’ve failed to score at their usual pace, and the deep ball just had not been falling for them. However, they could not have picked a worse opponent to try and correct offense against. The Orlando Magic may not be a very good team, but they’re one of the strongest defensive teams in the NBA. Coming into the game with a top five defense, Orlando has managed to fight their way out of an early season funk and used their defense to keep them in games against better opponents. If Charlotte was going to beat Orlando they were going to need to either grind out another win, or outscore the pitiful Orlando offense.
The beginning of the game played out just the way the Magic wanted. Charlotte struggled for every made basket while Orlando let themselves hang in there. Cody Zeller had an impressive start outworking former Charlotte player, Bismack Biyombo, for rebounds. They even managed to get Orlando’s best scorer, Evan Fournier, into some early foul trouble. Despite all this, the Magic kept the first quarter ugly and finished it with a one point lead.
In the second quarter things started to open up a bit for the Hornets offense. A couple 3-pointers fell and Orlando’s defense started to have some holes get poked through. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist exploded for 14 points in the first half and Orlando just couldn’t stop him. MKG was not only hitting jumpshots, but taking the ball in transition and slicing to the rim with little to no resistance. When Orlando did get there to contest he was able to absorb the contact and score anyways. Thanks to this scoring outburst Charlotte was able to enter halftime with the lead.
The Hornets were able to keep their offense going into the third quarter and slowly they built up a lead over Orlando. With Orlando lacking a real offense to keep up with, all the Hornets would have to do is score at a consistent pace and eventually the lead would be too large to catch.which is exactly what happened next. The Hornets offense made quick work of Orlando and before anybody knew it their lead was 20 points with little time left in the third quarter.
From this point on the Hornets cruised to victory in one of their more impressive victories of the season. Orlando has a very good defense and figuring out that puzzle is not an easy task. However, once a team does figure it out there isn’t much Orlando’s offense can do to counter it. Good on Charlotte for recognizing this and taking away the one thing Orlando is good at. Now, they move on to an extremely tough back to back against the Cleveland Cavaliers.