Despite the final score, the game was closer than the final score indicates. For large parts of the first quarter, the Magic pretty much controlled everything. However, the Hornets managed to outscore the Magic 26-23 in the first quarter.
Nicolas Batum struggled early, but the Hornets would not need him in this victory against Orlando. He did finish with a double-double of 11 points, and 11 rebounds.
The captain Kemba Walker lead the team in points, steals, assists, and plus/minus, finishing with 29 points, seven assists, three steals and a plus/minus of +13. He also went a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line. Tonight was exactly what you want from your best player. Another notable stat — every player that received minutes on Monday night recorded a steal, and the Hornets totaled 13 in the game, twice as many as their season average.
Kemba Walker is from the upside down— At The Hive (@At_The_Hive) December 5, 2017
The bench played well in the second quarter, and the Hornets surprisingly outscored Orlando by six. This quarter would set the tone for the remainder of the game.
In the third, the Magic attempted a comeback and scored eight more points by the end of the period, cutting the deficit to one. But Orlando wouldn’t take the lead in the fourth quarter, and Charlotte’s bench stepped up again.
Evan Fournier led the Magic with 18 points, while Jonathan Simmons finished with 15 points and six rebounds. Aaron Gordon, Orlando’s leading scorer, finished with just 14 points, shooting 4-for-15 from the field.
The highlight tonight is certainly Dwight Howard breaking Nikola Vucevic’s ankles near the end of the game.
I mean, wow.
One note from tonight’s win is that Malik Monk, once again, did not play. Some fans will be concerned about this, but, most should not be worried. Monk is still only 19 years old and struggles on defense. Playing time will come with more experience.
The Hornets next game will be against the reigning champions, the Golden State Warriors. This game will be on ESPN, marking the second time this season the Hornets play on national television.