Preview: Magic try to snap losing streak against Kemba Walker, Hornets
TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 7 p.m.
A week from now, the Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic will be in the early stages of reviewing how their seasons turned south.
On Friday, the teams will get together trying to get a win when Charlotte visits Orlando.
Charlotte (34-45) is concluding its second consecutive losing season since winning 48 games in 2015-16. The Hornets must win out to surpass last season’s win total.
Inconsistency has plagued the Hornets for most of the season. They are on a four-game losing streak after winning their previous four. It is their fifth losing streak of at least four games this season.
The Hornets will likely get a new general manager in the coming days. Rich Cho was fired Feb. 20 when the team was 24-33 and the team is working on an agreement with former Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, who holds four championships and like owner Michael Jordan played collegiately at North Carolina.
Howard owns the team record previously held by Larry Johnson in 1992-93 after posting his 50th double-double with 23 points and 17 rebounds in Tuesday’s 120-114 loss at Chicago. He has seven straight double-doubles and the Hornets are 25-25 when Howard gets double figures in points and rebounds.
“I do think — and he knows this — he’s still got a lot left,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford told the team’s website last month. “You can see it physically. For him to get the respect that he wants and deserves, he’s going to have to be on a team that plays well.
“Ultimately, it comes down to that. I know that he wants to go out on a high note and there’s a lot of things for players that are outside of what they can be accountable for. I think for him, that’s what everybody’s looking for.”
Walker scored nine points Tuesday, marking a season-high third straight game with fewer than 20 points. Since his 46-point game on March 22 against Memphis, Walker is averaging 17 points, shooting 43.4 percent and making 28.9 percent of 3-pointers.
Orlando (24-54) is concluding a fifth 50-loss season in the last six years since trading Howard in 2012. The Magic are 16-50 since opening the season with eight wins in 12 games.
Orlando is attempting to get a season-high three straight wins for the third time. The Magic also won three straight Oct. 21-27 and Feb. 5-8.
Orlando completed a successful back-to-back set by posting a 105-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. After rolling to a 97-73 win in New York, the Magic did enough to win despite shooting 27.6 percent from 3-point range.
Orlando is among the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league. Since making 18 in a win over Milwaukee on March 14, the Magic are shooting 28.5 percent (82 of 287) from long range in their last nine games.
Aaron Gordon rebounded from a 3-of-15 showing by scoring 20 points on 8 of 16 from the field Wednesday. Before then, he was shooting 30.6 percent in his previous four games.
“It was an important night for him because he’s had a tough couple of games lately and we’ve been talking one-on-one about getting him going, taking the right shots and playing within himself more and letting the game come to him rather than forcing,” Orlando coach Frank Vogel told reporters. “He did a great job with that tonight and as a result, shot a high percentage.”
The story for Orlando on Wednesday was how some players who were in the G League performed.
They will likely see more time, especially if Nikola Vucevic rests like he did Wednesday.
“We do have a lot of chemistry because we’ve all been playing in the G League together,” Artis told reporters. “Down in crunch time, we know what each other’s tendencies are, and we like to play together. We’re not selfish and we’re all unselfish. We ended out the game and I think that (unselfishness) helped us get the win.”
Charlotte has won the last 10 meetings since Dec. 16, 2015.