The game was frustratingly even throughout the entire first half. Cole Anthony and Dwayne Bacon each took a quarter to catch fire to keep the Hornets from building or even getting a lead. PJ Washington, Terry Rozier, and LaMelo Ball buoyed a Hornets offense that dominated the paint. Still, they struggled to contain the Magic's offense and trailed 62-60 at the half.
The Hornets got inside for several dunks to start the offense in the third quarter. The Magic kept pace with a couple 3-pointers. LaMelo Ball was the catalyst for the Hornets offense during the stretch, getting into the paint at will to score or drop easy dimes to his teammates. He finished with nine points and a handful of assists in the quarter as the Hornets turned a two point deficit into a five point lead.
After not turning the ball over at all in the third quarter, the Hornets committed three in the first two minutes of the fourth. Strong Hornets defense combined with inept Magic offense kept the Magic from gaining any ground, and some more buckets and assists from Ball helped the Hornets build a double digit lead. Dwayne Bacon tried to mount a charge for the Magic, but it fell flat. The Hornets held a comfortable lead around 10 for the final several minutes of the game.
Rozier and Washington joined Ball with 20+ points apiece, Rozier with 28 and Washington with 23. Bismarck Biyombo chipped in a double double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Up next is a Ball brother reunion on Sunday as the Hornets host the Pelicans.