Saturday, March 29, 2014
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Magic Overcome Hornets In Overtime

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[March 29, 2014]  ORLANDO, Fla.  The Orlando Magic have not had trouble starting games this season, but finishing has been a problem.

They reversed things against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night, rallying from nine down in the fourth quarter and controlling overtime to post a 110-105 victory over the Bobcats.

It was only the second Magic win in seven overtime games this season. They had seven players score in double figures, including center Nikola Vucevic, who had 24 points and a season-high 23 rebounds.

"It was a great fight by all of our guys," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We've had a lot of tight games this year that have been learning experiences  some good, some bad. We obviously have learned something from our mistakes."

Vucevic, who started the game 1-of-8 from the field, finished the game 11-of-22. He helped the Magic dig out of a 16-point hole late in the first quarter.


"A 16-point lead is not that big a deal in the NBA," Vucevic said. "I knew it would turn around. They were making a lot of jump shots early, but if you just keep fighting, keep grinding, things will turn around that is what we did tonight."

Vucevic got help from guards Arron Afflalo, whose 3-pointer with 7.4 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 97 and sent the game to overtime. Afflalo finished with 17 points, Forward Tobias Harris scored 15 points and forward Kyle O'Quinn had 13 points and seven rebounds.

"We got a lot of unselfish play from a lot of players tonight," Vaughn said.

That was not the case for Charlotte. The Bobcats put all five starters in double figures, led by forward Josh McRoberts and guard Kemba Walker with 24 points apiece, but they failed to help each other out defensively at the end of the game and got crushed on the boards 57-36.

"Our biggest emphasis coming into the game was to be physical on the glass and we weren't willing to do that," Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. "Our pick-and-roll defense wasn't close to what it needs to be and we didn't rebound the ball. That was the game."

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Clifford was especially critical of the defense that allowed Afflalo to tie the score with a 3-pointer. Guard Gerald Henderson went behind the screen, leaving Afflalo an uncontested look that he buried with no problem.

"We had the game won and made an incredible mistake," Clifford said. "The game is on the line. All you've got to do is step in and made the game right there and the game ends."

Henderson admitted his mistake.

"It was just a split-second decision and I made the wrong decision to go underneath," the Bobcats guard said.

NOTES: Magic PG Jameer Nelson returned to the starting lineup after missing four games with a sore knee. ... Charlotte is 12-7 since the All-Star break, the third-best record in the East during that time. ... The Magic are 0-33 this season when getting outrebounded. ... Magic reserve G E'Twaun Moore was 2-for-18 from the field in his previous four games.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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