The Orlando Magic entered the first game of a back-to-back coming off their worst loss of the season dealt by the Los Angeles Clippers, on Wednesday. Looking to rebound from the tough losss, the Magic led by some unlikely heroes, were able to stage one of the biggest comebacks on the season to defeat the Charlotte Hornets 105-100.
The game for the most part was pretty close, despite a slow start from the Magic in the first half. It was in the second half that same tired old book began to re-write itself. Third quarter starts have haunted the Magic for most of the season. Friday’s game was no different. The team came out flat, sluggish, playing isolation ball which resulted in empty possessions. The Magic found themselves down by 23 when head coach, Jacque Vaughn, called a timeout. That’s when the game changed for the better.
Needing to find some sort of spark, Jacque Vaughn put out a lineup of Elfrid Payton, Ben Gordon, Willie Green, Tobias Harris, & Channing Frye. The result? A 23-point deficit cut down to 15 entering the fourth.
With the momentum on their side, Ben Gordon and Evan Fournier, who missed the previous game with a heel contusion, were able to cut the 15-point deficit down to single digits. Now within striking distance, Willie Green and Elfrid Payton were able to make some big shots to tie the game.
In crunch time, Payton gets sent to the free-throw line, where he misses both. Willie Green, taking advantage of the Hornets failing to box out, came from out of nowhere to put the miss back in. A play that would swing the game in the Magic’s favor. From there, Nikola Vucevic gets sent to the line and knocks down both shots to make it a two possession game. Tobias Harris promptly put the game on ice with two makes of his own from he charity stripe.
Evan Fournier led the Magic with 21 points. Tobias Harris struggled, but finished with a double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds. Nik Vucevic followed suit with a double-double of his own; 14 points, 10 rebounds. Elfrid Payton came off the bench had 16 points. Victor Oladipo, who’s still trying to find his groove, finished with 10 points.
The Magic return to the Amway Center for their annual Sunshine State Dual with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and The Miami Heat on Saturday.