Late Magic Rally Not Enough, Hornets Win In Overtime


In what turned into an exciting game, the New Orleans Hornets overcame a late Magic rally that sent the game to overtime and came away with a 92-89 victory. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 29 points and 20 rebounds while Marcus Thornton led the Hornets with 22 points off of the bench. Chris Paul had 12 points, 13 assists and five boards.

The Hornets forced the Magic to play the first half at their pace, not allowing the Magic to push the ball, which is something they’ve made an effort to do over the last 11 games. During the third quarter, both offenses were more crisp but Chris Paul put on a show, slashing through the court and finding his teammates for excellent looks. The Hornets scored 27 points in the period and extended their lead from 40-39 to 67-61. The Hornets were able to extend the lead to nine on a Marcus Thornton 3-pointer with 9:11 to play. The Magic rallied with a 7-0 run, cutting the lead to 1 but the Hornets answered, pushing the lead back to 79-72 after a Dwight Howard technical foul and a Chris Paul jumper. Jason Richardson immediately hit a 3-pointer and after Emeka Okafor hit just one of his two free throws, Richardson hit another. After Paul missed a free throw, Hedo Turkoglu hit a 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds to go and after a missed jumper by David West at the buzzer, the game would go to overtime.

The overtime was back-and-forth. With the Magic trailing by one with just 11 seconds left, Howard got an offensive foul and missed both free throws. Marcus Thornton was fouled and hit both free throws to give the Hornets a 3-point lead with 8.2 seconds to play. J.J. Redick’s last second 3-pointer fell short and the Magic’s nine-game winning streak came to a close.

After the jump, you can read thoughts and notes from the game.

  • The Hornets decided to play Howard one-on-one with Emeka Okafor. Howard almost always has a lot of success when he is played one-on-one and has really exploited his matchups with Okafor over the years. This was no different Wednesday. The Magic fed Howard the ball through the first quarter and it paid off – Howard had 13 first quarter points, including a dunk that saw him go baseline right passed David West. Howard also wasn’t shy with his jumpers, taking several throughout the game. Even after a couple of early misses, he continued to shoot so it was good to see him keep his confidence. His best move of the night may have come when he looked he was heading right across the lane to take one of his patented hooks but instead reverse and put the ball the ball in the basket. Howard was fantastic, finishing with 20 points, but his night will unfortunately be remembered for his two late misses from the charity stripe.
  • Jason Richardson is absolutely ice cold. His two late game 3-pointers got the Magic right back in the game and his explosive drive and layup gave the Magic an 89-88 lead with just 58 seconds to go in the overtime period.  He finished with 21 points and seven rebounds.
  • Orlando’s offense really never got into a groove. Despite his game-tying 3-pointer, Hedo Turkoglu didn’t look right throughout the night and couldn’t really get good shots for his teammates like he has been as of late. Jameer Nelson picked up the slack in that department but it wasn’t enough. The ball movement wasn’t as good and there was too much standing around offensively. It showed – Orlando posted an effective field goal percentage of 45.6%.
  • Their defense, on the other hand, was better, but some of that is deceiving because of the slow-pace the Hornets play.
  • Ryan Anderson had another solid night. He scored 14 points on nine shots and was very aggressive on the glass, grabbing eight boards, including two offensive rebounds.
  • J.J. Redick had an off night and just couldn’t find his shot despite getting some good looks. He was 2-of-11 from the field. Jameer Nelson was equally as bad, going just 1-of-9. Turkoglu was 2-of-10 and Brandon Bass was 3-of-13. In fact outside of Howard (13-of-19), Richardson (8-of-16) and Anderson (5-of-9), every player shot under 50% from the field. That’s not exactly a recipe for success.

Next Up: The Magic will get right back to work when they travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder.

Final Thought: The Magic didn’t have a lot of energy and were sloppy on offense, resulting in the end of their winning streak.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).