01/24 21:22 CST Hayward breaks late tie, scores 39 points to lead Hornets
Hayward breaks late tie, scores 39 points to lead Hornets
By JOHN DENTON
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) --- With the game on the line, the Charlotte Hornets got the
ball right where they had worked on in practice a day earlier. Gordon Hayward
delivered --- just as he did most of Sunday night.
Hayward broke a tie by converting a layup with 0.7 seconds left and scored 39
points in Charlotte's 107-104 comeback victory over the Orlando Magic.
Hayward beat Evan Fournier off the dribble and made the left-handed layup after
Orlando's Terrence Ross tied the game at 104 with a 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds
"We put him at the top of the floor with 8 seconds to go and he made a play,"
Charlotte coach James Borrego said about Hayward, who made 15 of 25 shots and 5
of 8 3-pointers for his fourth 30-point game of the season. "That's what great
players do. He's been in that situation before, he knew what he was trying to
get to and he executed. These are scenarios that we worked on all this week."
Charlotte ended a four-game losing streak, overcoming a 14-point deficit. Down
the entire second and third quarters, the Hornets opened the fourth with a 25-4
run --- making nine of their first 14 shots. Orlando missed 12 of its first 13
shots in the period.
"It's a resilient win and this is a resilient group," Borrego said.
Miles Bridges added 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
"When Gordon is firing I guess everybody is firing," Bridges said. "If he's
going then that gets everybody else into it. And he finds his open teammates,
Once 6-2, the Magic lost for an eighth time in the past nine games. Orlando and
Charlotte will play again on Monday night.
Nikola Vucevic topped 10,000 career points early in the night and scored 22
points in the game. He added 13 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the
Evan Fournier had 21 points and six assists, while rookie point guard Cole
Anthony added 14 points and six assists.
"Obviously we have to play the same brand of basketball that we did during the
first three quarters and not mess up easy things," Fournier said.
The Magic were without forward Aaron Gordon because of hip and back soreness.
Gordon, who had averaged 16 points, 11.7 rebounds and 8.7 assists in his
previous three games and had taken on some of the team's playmaking following
the season-ending injury to Markelle Fultz, is the latest blow to a Magic team
that has already lost 83 player games to injury.
Orlando led by as much as 13 in the first half and by as much as 14 late in the
third period, but it had trouble pulling away because of how well Hayward
played offensively. Hayward made eight of his first 12 shots, including three
3s, and scored 19 first-half points.
"I'm just trying to help us win basketball games," Hayward said. "I have good
teammates who are putting me in position to be successful. It's been fun
playing with this team, I'm excited and happy to be here in Charlotte."
Hornets: Not only do Charlotte and Orlando know each other well from playing
four times a season, but there is also plenty of crossover on the coaching
staffs. Charlotte coach James Borrego was a Magic assistant from 2012-15 and he
was 10-20 as the franchise's interim coach at the end of the 2014-15 NBA
season. Magic head coach Steve Clifford and most of his staff led the Hornets
from 2013-18 prior to arriving in Orlando.
Magic: Magic coach Steve Clifford is six-for-six in Coach's Challenge instances
this season. ... Orlando tied a season high with 17 3-pointers.