CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Paolo Banchero scored 31 points and finally got a couple shots to fall from long range to help the Orlando Magic beat the Charlotte Hornets 117-106 on Friday night.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft was 1 of 33 on 3-point attempts in February and started this month 0 for 2 before going 2 of 6 from against the Hornets. It was his first game with multiple 3s since Jan. 30.
Cole Anthony had 16 points and Jalen Suggs added 15 off the bench for the Magic, who took three of four from the Hornets this season. The victory marked the fifth straight time the Magic have followed up a loss with a win.
Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 29 points and Terry Rozier added 22 for the Hornets, who lost their second straight since LaMelo Ball went down with a season-ending ankle injury. The Hornets had won five straight games before Ball fractured his ankle Monday night.
Orlando entered the game 4 1/2 games behind the Washington Wizards for 10th place in the Eastern Conference. And the Magic looked like the more motivated team.
Anthony and Suggs combined for 22 points in the first half as Orlando opened a 64-48 lead at the break. Injuries to Ball, P.J. Washington and Cody Martin have left the Hornets bench thin and Orlando’s reserves outscored Charlotte 47-23.
Banchero got hot in the second half, scoring 14 points in the third quarter as the Magic stretched the lead to 24.
The Hornets would rally to cut the lead to seven with 4 1/2 minutes on Oubre’s fourth 3-pointer, but Gary Harris scored on a wild, high-lofting underhanded left-handed layup that sailed several feet over the heads of two defenders before falling through the basket to push the lead safely back to double digits and essentially seal the win.
Magic: Franz Wagner left at halftime with a left ankle sprain and did not return.
Hornets: Rozier recorded the 500th steal of his NBA career and his 300th as a member of the Hornets. … Washington missed his fourth straight game with a knee soreness.
Magic: Host Portland on Sunday night.
Hornets: At Brooklyn on Sunday night.