Magic Blow 18-Point Lead, Fall To Hornets 100-93


The Orlando Magic blew an 18-point third quarter lead and couldn’t overcome David West’s 40-point night, dropping Friday night’s game in New Orleans against the Hornets 100-93. The Magic played fantastic in the second quarter and for a good portion of the third quarter before going ice-cold and let the Hornets get back into the game, eventually winning it. Rookie Marcus Thornton had 18 points and 7 rebounds and fellow rookie Darren Collison scored 16 points and dished out 7 assists. Dwight Howard had 26 points and 10 rebounds, recording his 20th consecutive double-double while Jameer Nelson had 19 points and 11 assists.


After a dominating second quarter and a brilliant start to the third quarter, it looked like the Magic were going to blow the the Hornets out but as usual, they let their opponent right back into the game and just like in home games against Dallas and against Washington, it cost them the game.

There were several reasons the Magic lost this game.

Turnovers absolutely killed them. The Magic went up big and got careless with the ball. They turned the ball over 18 times with 11 of them coming in the second half (8 in the third quarter). Twice the Magic had fast break opportunities with numbers in their favor and failed to convert because they turned the ball over. The Magic could have had some good looks at the basket but just tried to force some passes and had them stolen. Jameer Nelson had 4 second half turnovers after turning the ball over just once in the first half.

The Magic did get some good looks, but couldn’t convert. After scorching the nets by shooting 34-of-59 (57.6%) from the field through three quarters, Orlando shot just 4-of-18 (22.2%) from the field in the fourth quarter and went just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc in the third quarter. That’s right, the Magic entered the fourth quarter with an 8-point lead and attempted just five two-point shots in the final quarter. Now, some of those threes were desperation heaves in garbage time, but those numbers are still unacceptable.Dwight Howard, who entered the final quarter with 24 points, had just three attempts in the final period and scored just 2 points.

The Magic played good defense for some stretches but just could not handle Hornets Power Forward David West. Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson each took their turn against West and neither could slow him down. West finished with 40 points on 16-of-24 shooting and had 10 rebounds. The Magic actually played him better in the final quarter but his teammates stepped up. Rookie guards Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton combined for 13 fourth quarter points while Aaron Gray, who was averaging just 1.8 points per game and 1.9 rebounds per game in 6.0 minutes per game while only appearing in 13 games, had 6 points and 6 rebounds in the fourth quarter alone. Gray had 3 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy pointed out that that was the same amount of total rebounds Dwight Howard had in the entire second half.

When Howard isn’t at his best on the boards like Friday night, the Magic are in a lot of trouble. The Hornets grabbed 43 rebounds to Orlando’s 38, including 12 offensive rebounds that led to 19 second chance points. The Magic just don’t have another consistent rebounder except for Matt Barnes, who was noticeably absent in the fourth quarter.

Throughout his postgame media session, Van Gundy continued to repeat the words “18 turnovers, 19 second chance points” when talking about why the Magic lost the game.

Jameer Nelson turned the ball over 4 times in the second half, but outside of that, he played very well, finishing with 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting with 11 assists. Nelson’s play in Friday’s game was telling – when Nelson plays at a high level like he did for two-and-a-half quarters Friday night, Orlando’s offense seems to be clicking on all cylinders and it is extremely difficult to stop.

You can read the quick recap here.

Game Notes:

  • Vince Carter was nowhere to be found – he had 8 points on 3-of-10 shooting, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 turnovers.
  • Rashard Lewis continues to struggle. He had 9 points on 3-of-11 shooting.
  • Orlando had 19 assists while the Hornets finished with just 13.
  • Dwight Howard extended his franchise record double-double streak by getting his 20th straight double-double.

Next Up: The Magic return home to host the Miami Heat Sunday night. The Magic are 0-2 against the Heat this season.

Final Thought: The Magic just can’t close out games and that is definitely a cause for concern.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).