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Recap: Hornets topple Magic 106-99 behind strong two-way performance from Terry Rozier

Rozier, along with Cody Martin and Kelly Oubre Jr., lifted the Hornets up on both ends tonight

Charlotte Hornets v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Terry Rozier put up 27 points and six steals as he enlisted the help of the second unit to carry an otherwise sluggish Charlotte Hornets squad to a 106-99 win over the Orlando Magic, marking their seventh win in the last eight games.

Two long, scoreless minutes for the Hornets to start the game were ended when LaMelo Ball canned a deep triple from the right wing. Charlotte’s offense started out 1-13 from the field, missing some wide-open looks after solid halfcourt possessions and it resulted in an 11-5 deficit halfway through the first.

The offense found its way in spurts, and a 4-9 shooting stretch after the rough start was capped off by a Kelly Oubre Jr. 3-pointer that cut Orlando’s lead to four, 21-17. The Hornets were pressuring the rim, generating seven first-quarter free throws, and LaMelo had 10 as the Magic led 28-24 going into the second.

Rozier was cooking with gas to start the second quarter, leading the charge as the Hornets tied the game, 36-36 less than three minutes in. The game as a whole was marred by the inability to finish possessions with any consistency, but the offense was at its best when Rozier was the initiator.

LaMelo tried a Miles Bridges-esque dunk midway through the quarter, failed miserably, fouled the rebounder and was immediately (and fairly) benched by James Borrego. Despite shooting just 38.5 percent from the field and 30 percent from downtown, Charlotte led 52-49 at the break. The second unit was impressive defensively, and Rozier scored a game-high 12 points in the first half to go with four assists and three steals.

Mo Bamba was assessed a technical foul in the first couple of minutes of the second half, and Rozier proceeded to miss the first technical free throw attempt of his life. All was well and good as he proceeded to carry the Hornets through the third quarter, but Jalen Suggs took the reigns of Orlando’s offense and powered them to a 69-67 lead by the halfway point of the third.

The Magic would stretch their lead to seven, but the tides turned quickly and a 3-pointer from Oubre Jr. put Charlotte up 78-74 just over a minute-and-a-half later. Cody Martin played some of his best minutes this season in the third, impacting the game with aggressive defense and sound playmaking. A 15-3 Hornets run gave them an 82-77 lead after three quarters.

Martin, along with Jalen McDaniels, continued to make an impact with their minutes early in the fourth. Charlotte played strong defense to begin the final frame with some particularly effective zone, and a couple of buckets from Rozier gave the Hornets a 102-90 lead with 2:50 left.

In what’s become a common theme, the Hornets struggled to put away their opponent for good — credit to Orlando for playing hard until the final whistle and to LaMelo for icing the game with a pair of difficult finishes in the paint, but the game probably didn’t need to be in question for as long as it did.

Charlotte won with a final score of 106-99. Rozier had 27 points, five assists and six steals and shot 11-22 from the floor. LaMelo overcame a mostly-rough game to finish with 22 points, four rebounds and four assists. Oubre Jr. added 21 and six boards off the bench. The Hornets had 38 bench points and got to the free-throw line 21 times (76.2 percent).

I haven’t done a recap since last season, so I’ve been waiting to do these for a while. As always, some quick notes to round out the evening.

McDaniels and Martin were the second and third best Hornets tonight; Jalen Suggs has great chemistry with his bigs; breaking news Miles Bridges is super athletic and it’s awesome; PJ’s braids are a solid 8.3/10, great haircut, also great to see him back even if it was barely six minutes; surviving a stinker from Melo, Miles and Hayward is a cause for celebration no matter who its against; turkey is an overrated Thanksgiving centerpiece, we as a society need to adopt smoked meats like brisket/ribs/pork/etc. for this holiday because they also pair better with the good side dishes like green bean casserole, mac and cheese and potatoes; stuffing and cranberry sauce are bad side dishes.