Hornets close strong homestand with 107-99 win over Magic

- The Charlotte Hornets have proven they're a good NBA team at home.

Now they want to show they can win big games on the road, beginning Thursday night against the Miami Heat.

The Hornets closed out a 6-1 homestand by beating the Orlando Magic 107-99 on Wednesday behind 26 points apiece from Marvin Williams and Nicolas Batum.

"The homestand was huge," Williams said. "Guys were really looking forward to it. We've got to take this show back on the road and hopefully we can play with the same intensity."

The Hornets (38-29) have 15 games left, but only five at home. So they'll have to be solid on the road if they plan to clinch a second playoff berth in three seasons.

Charlotte is 26-10 at home this season and would like to land home-court advantage for a playoff series.

That is what makes the Heat game so big.

The Hornets are one game behind Miami for the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference. Miami holds a 2-1 series lead, so there are potential tiebreaker implications at stake.

"If you look at the last 10 years, 75 percent of the home teams win in the first round," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. "The only seeding that's not where the home team didn't win the most was the 4-5. ... We have to concentrate. That to me is the carrot."

Williams added nine rebounds and four 3-pointers, while Batum had nine assists and seven rebounds for the Hornets, who have won 14 of their last 17. Cody Zeller had his fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Kemba Walker chipped in with 16 points and eight rebounds.

The Hornets led by as many as 26 in the second half after starting the game missing 11 of its first 12 3-pointers.

The Hornets didn't let up, pushing the lead to 18 at the break behind Batum's 16 first-half points and eight assists.

Orlando cut the lead to 105-99 with less than 2 minutes left, with Andrew Nicholson taking over in the low post and Devyn Marble knocking down a pair of 3s. But Victor Oladipo missed a pull-up jumper from 18 feet and Batum scored on a layup to push the lead to eight and essentially seal the victory.

"They just kind of turned it up on both ends," Magic coach Scott Skiles said. "They started getting real aggressive offensively and driving the ball and that led to spreading the floor and making 3s. Defensively they kind of got up, got into us and during that stretch we missed some good looks, too. We just flat missed them.

"You have to be able to put your foot down and somebody's got to make a big basket for you or a big defensive play and kind of get a run going of your own. This is something we've really struggled with."

Oladipo had 15 of his 25 points in the first quarter. Brandon Jennings chipped in with 16 points and Nicholson added 13 for the Magic, who have lost five of their last seven games.


Magic: Oladipo had his 14th 20-point game of the season. ... Jennings had eight rebounds, his most since joining Orlando. ... Jennings and Oladipo outscored Charlotte's starting backcourt 41-22.

Hornets: Are 12-0 this season when they score at least 60 points in the first half. ... Batum has led the Hornets in assists 32 times this season.


Jeremy Lamb did not play at all for the Hornets for the third straight game following some recent struggles. Instead, Clifford is giving the minutes to Troy Daniels, who has been playing with good intensity on both ends of the floor.


Williams is enjoying one of his best statistical seasons, setting a career high with 125 3-pointers. The only Hornets forward to hit more in a season is Glen Rice.


Magic: Host Cleveland on Friday night.

Hornets: Visit Miami on Thursday night.

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