ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Pablo Banchero had 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and the Orlando Magic beat the Charlotte Hornets 113-93 Friday night for their first victory of the season.
Mo Bamba had 19 points and six rebounds, Wendell Carter Jr. added 15 points and five rebounds, and Bol Bol had 11 points and seven rebounds for Orlando, which had opened the season with five straight losses.
Banchero, the first overall pick in the NBA Draft, became the sixth player in NBA history to start his career with six straight games of 20 points or more, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Elvin Hayes, Dominique Wilkins and Grant Hill. Nobody was less impressed than the 6-foot-10 rookie.
“People hit me up after games and text me all these stats,” Banchero said. “Not to sound full of myself or anything, but it’s just kind of what I expect out of myself, playing at this level and being able to score. I just feel like I’ve been blessed by God with the body, the skill, the IQ, so what I’ve been doing is kind of what I expected to do.”
The Magic led by 32 points in the third quarter.
“Our defense was on point from the beginning of the game,” said Bol.
Gordon Heyward scored 18 points to lead Charlotte, which shot 37.9 percent with 15 turnovers in losing for the third time in five games.
A 3-pointer by Theo Maledon accounted for the only points scored by the Hornets over the final 6:46 of the second quarter. They shot 26.8% in the first half.
“We couldn’t throw it in the ocean there in the second quarter and that hurts,” said Heyward. “Playing against a team that's that long, you have to make shots.”
Led by Banchero, Carter and Bol, the Magic closed the first half on a 20-3 run to take a 51-30 lead. The Hornets never got any closer.
“That’s the third game in row we’ve been down double digits in the beginning of the game. We’ve got to get off to better starts,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. “I thought playing hard and with intensity would be a strength of our team. It wasn’t tonight. That happens sometimes.”
Hornets: G Terry Rozier missed a third game with a sprained right ankle. ... The Hornets, who came into the game leading the NBA in scoring and 3-point shooting, made only 4 of 18 from behind the arc in the first half and finished the game 11 for 38. ... It took a 40-point fourth quarter to get the Hornets to 93, their lowest scoring output of the young season.
Magic: With G Markelle Fultz (toe), G Jalen Suggs (ankle) and G Cole Anthony (oblique) out with injuries, 6-foot-10 Franz Wagner started at point guard. ... The 7-2 Bol got his first start for Orlando at forward and played a career-high 26 minutes. ... Banchero posted a plus-27 plus/minus in 27 minutes. ... The Magic are 57-58 all-time against the Hornets.
Hornets: Host Golden State on Saturday night.
Magic: At Dallas on Sunday night.
By Dick Scanlon, The Associated Press | 10/29/22