I watched the majority of this game completely underwhelmed. We knew it'd be rough with four of the Charlotte Hornets' five best players out with injury, but hey, we were playing the perennially average Orlando Magic right? Sort of, the Magic aren't great, but apparently neither are the Hornets. Charlotte led 13-12 in the first quarter, and that was it for a WHILE. From about midway in the first quarter until midway in the third quarter, the Hornets were down a handful of points. Kemba Walker was playing alright, Victor Oladipo was shooting well, and it had the look of a ho-hum game that could go either way, but wasn't looking great.
Then Orlando broke it open. Reaching a lead of 19 at one point, the Magic decimated the Hornets in much of the third and fourth quarters, with at one point during the third, having only Elfrid Payton with a field goal percentage below 50 percent. Heck, the team as a whole finished the game shooting about just that. It was disappointing that half the team was hurt, and that Frank Kaminsky, who had previously been a bright spot, was meh, and that we were watching guys like Brian Roberts and Troy Daniels and Tyler Hansbrough and Spencer Hawes, who should be an afterthought in almost every game, playing meaningful minutes and expectedly, not playing them particularly well. Honestly, it felt like another disappointing loss in a season that had started so well. At the end of the third quarter, Kemba even got into it with Coach Clifford for wanting to rest him for the fourth.
And then things, slowly and steadily, began to shift. Troy Daniels started hitting everything, which at that point seemed to be am inspired garbage time effort. Then Kemba heated up, the defense picked up, and the Magic went cold. Soon we had a competitive game on our hands, and before you knew it, a six-minute stretch had gone by with the Hornets having taken the lead, outscoring the Magic 28-3. This was it — a huge comeback, and much needed victory for the Horne--
Oladipo. 3-pointer off the glass. Bank open on Friday night. Overtime.
It was like the Magic had just Carolina Panther'd them. Down the whole game, Cliff's bunch had finally come back only to have Orlando extend the game, and presumably finish how they started.
But you have to give it to these guys. The final five of Kemba Walker, Brian Roberts, Troy Daniels, Marvin Williams, and Spencer Hawes, would not fold, coming out strong to start the overtime period and eventually completing a helluva comeback. Walker finished the game with 40 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, four steals, a block, and one turnover.
I'll take the win, but if every game is like this we may all collectively croak before season's end. Onto the Knicks tomorrow. Rest up.