Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Friday’s home game vs. Orlando Magic

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Friday’s 122-112 Hornets’ home win over the Orlando Magic that improved Charlotte to 33-34 overall:

… After struggling in Thursday’s 120-99 home loss to the Chicago Bulls, rookie LaMelo Ball rebounded with 27 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Hornets cut their magic number to clinch a berth in the NBA play-in tournament to one. Ball did so without hitting any perimeter shots. “We need him at the rim,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “He looked more comfortable tonight, just built off his driving to the rim.”

… Ball went one for 10 (0-2 on 3-pointers) with four points, four rebounds and nine assists on Thursday. “My shot was a little off so I had to get to the rim,” Ball said.

… Terry Rozier had a game-high 28 points and survived an injury scare in the first half. Rozier’s right ankle was twisted after landing on an Orlando player on a drive to the basket but he stayed in the game and finished with a team-high 39 minutes played. “I just tied my shoes tight and gave my team what I’ve got,” Rozier said.

… P.J. Washington added 23 points and nine rebounds, Jalen McDaniels 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists and Bismack Biyombo 11 points and 11 rebounds with five of five field goal shooting. “Everybody that stepped on the court produced,” Borrego said.

… Charlotte trailed after the first two quarters before taking charge in the third quarter and holding off the Magic in the fourth quarter. It marked only the sixth game this season the Hornets have won after trailing at the end of the first two quarters and snapped a streak of 12 straight losses in which the Hornets faced deficits after the first two periods. Charlotte is 6-23 this season when it trails after the first two quarters. The Hornets’ last win after trailing following the first two quarters came on Feb. 28 at Sacramento.

… Former Hornets player Dwayne Bacon had 26 points and former North Carolina standout Cole Anthony 22 points to lead Orlando, whose head coach is former Hornets head coach Steve Clifford. Orlando was without eight injured players and fell to 21-46.

… Among the 3,751 in attendance at Spectrum Center were former North Carolina head coach Roy Williams and current Tar Heels head coach Hubert Davis.

What’s next: The Hornets host the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday at 7 p.m. The Pelicans announced Friday afternoon that Spartanburg’s Zion Wiliamson was out indefinitely with a broken left ring finger. It means Williamson has yet to play a game in Charlotte in his two-year NBA career.