Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 112, Charlotte Hornets 100

Evan Fournier and the Orlando Magic moved the ball exceptionally well to defeat the Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Evan Fournier and the Orlando Magic moved the ball exceptionally well to defeat the Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic set a season-high with 35 assists to get their offense moving and defeat the Charlotte Hornets to end a five-game losing streak.

Final. 112. 38. 100. 170

The Charlotte Hornets were scrambling to try to stay in the game against the Orlando Magic. They had cut a 16-point deficit to seven with about three minutes to play. The Magic were still in a precarious situation on the road.

And the Hornets were pressing to try to get it done, doubling Markelle Fultz in the corner and trying to slow down the Magic and compress their time to execute.

Markelle Fultz whipped the ball cross-court to Evan Fournier. The clock was ticking to get it over. Evan Fournier moved it back toward Markelle Fultz as he raced toward mid-court. The Hornets defense was scrambling to catch up.

Markelle Fultz caught the ball and before landing threw the ball upcourt to Terrence Ross.

Terrence Ross was ready. He rose up and drained the 3-pointer to give the Magic a 10-point lead. The pressure of the late-game situation had dissipated. Orlando got the relief of a needed win, defeating Charlotte 112-100 at Spectrum Center on Monday.

The ball movement that was part of that play was part of the Magic’s best ball movement throughout the game.

Orlando recorded a season-high 35 assists to get the team’s offense moving at long last. The team got a career-high 14 assists from Fultz, using him to get into the lane and keep the ball moving around the perimeter.

Yes, the Magic’s offense got stuck on several occasions. That happened when the team allowed itself to get stuck on one side or threw out lineups that did not have enough shooting. The team could fall in love with trying to set up post-ups for Nikola Vucevic or curls for Terrence Ross. Orlando could still slow to a crawl as it tried to get organized.

Those moments allowed the Hornets to get out in transition. They found some breathing room that way and in attacking the offensive glass too. Orlando had a lot to clean up.

But the team largely did. The Magic got the ball moving again and their defense locked in, challenging shots and holding the Hornets to 46.1-percent shooting and 9-for-31 shooting from beyond the arc.

The Magic had control of the game almost throughout. They did so with their ball movement and timely shotmaking. And they did so with their defense scrambling and doing a good job contesting shots.

PG. Orlando Magic. MARKELLE FULTZ. A. Markelle Fultz was on something from the very start of the game. He had seven assists in the first quarter of the game. He was moving the ball quickly and added flair to some of those passes. He finished with a career-high 14 assists. And that set a good tone for the game. The Magic were going to move without the ball and work inside-out.<p>Fultz had everything working. He drove into the lane and had the good sense of how deep to drive to draw the defense in and not get trapped. By the time the third quarter came around, the Hornets were backing off him and daring him to score. He did that, hitting four of six shots for 12 points, including a 3-pointer.</p><p>Fultz did a lot of things really well. he controlled the pace of the game and attacked with pace. The Magic played better when it went through him. He got the ball moving in and out and initiated the attack perfectly. This was more sign that Fultz has to get more trust to run this team.</p>

G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER. B+. Evan Fournier has had some shooting struggles the last few games. Adding in that he has been playing with a bad back makes things even worse. Adding in that Orlando has relied on him even more as a playmaker. That is not his best. And if he is struggling to shoot, his flaws become more apparent.<p>Getting the ball out of his hands more was definitely the right decision here. It helped him get a lot more spot-up opportunities where he can really make a killing as a shooter. He was patient with his shots and did a good job attacking off those closeouts, again where he is very good.</p><p>Fournier scored 17 point son 7-for-14 14 shooting, making three of his six 3-pointers. This was exactly how the Magic want to use him. He worked off the ball and got attacks off ball reversals. This is how the Magic need to use Fournier in his ideal role.</p>

B. The same goes for <a href=. C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC

A-. <a href=. C. Orlando Magic. MOHAMED BAMBA

16-34. 12th East. CHARLOTTE HORNETS. C+. Like the Orlando Magic, the Charlotte Hornets are in a tough spot. They have dropped a lot of games and have faced their share of injuries. Their overall talent level and experience are not in the same place as the Magic. It is here that it is easy to see the difference in these two teams.<p>The Hornets really struggled defensively all night. The Magic were able to get into the lane and really create quality shots throughout the night. The Hornets could prove to be pesky for short stretches, but the team just was not consistent defensively. That has been their problem all year.</p><p>Charlotte has a difficult time scoring if the team’s 3-pointers are not falling. The Magic did a very good job scrambling and crowding drivers and putting them in difficult spots. The Hornets hit some tough threes, but not nearly enough. Offensive rebounding and second-chance points were the Hornets’ best chance to score throughout the night.</p>

The Orlando Magic are now 22-28, one-half game behind the Brooklyn Nets for seventh in the Eastern Conference. They are four games ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the playoffs.

Next. Orlando Magic still hunting for their pace. dark

The Orlando Magic’s road trip continues Wednesday in Boston against the Boston Celtics.