Hornets-Magic Preview

Ryan Anderson had the best season of his career for the Orlando

Magic in 2011-12, pricing himself out of a new contract with the

team in the process.

The New Orleans Hornets gave him the dollars he sought, but he

isn’t enjoying much success at the moment.

Anderson will look to help New Orleans avoid matching a

franchise-record 12-game losing streak in his return to Orlando on

Wednesday night.

Anderson was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player after

averaging career highs of 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds while

hitting a league-high 166 3-pointers for the Magic last season. He

was a restricted free agent during the offseason, and New Orleans

signed him to a four-year, $36 million offer sheet.

Orlando decided not to match and completed a sign-and-trade deal

with the Hornets, acquiring big man Gustavo Ayon.

Anderson is scoring a team-high 17.8 points per game, but

Western Conference-worst New Orleans (5-22) has struggled. It has

lost 11 straight after blowing a 22-point lead in Saturday’s 81-75

home loss to Indiana, getting outscored 24-7 in the third

quarter.

Anderson, who has come off the bench in the last four games,

shot 2 of 9 for six points. He has totaled 25 in his last three

contests on 9-of-37 (24.3 percent) shooting.

“I think it’s a bit of teams trying to take him out (of his

game) and we don’t have enough experience to play off of that,”

coach Monty Williams said.

Robin Lopez scored a season-high 24 points, grabbed 11 rebounds

and had a career high-tying six blocks Saturday for the Hornets,

who are nonetheless on the verge of matching their franchise-worst

losing streak set from Jan. 19-Feb. 14, 1990.

“We didn’t really understand the moment,” Williams said. “I

thought we played not to lose instead of playing to win. We have to

own it and move forward, but it’s a tough one to swallow.”

Anthony Davis shot 5 of 14 from the field and scored 10 points,

while fellow rookie Austin Rivers finished 3 of 12 with seven

points.

“We came out flat in the second half, and to sum it all up you

have to come out and play a full 48 minutes, not just one half,”

Rivers said. “That’s what we need to learn, is to fight for the

whole game.”

The Magic (12-15) are coming off a 97-93 home loss to Utah on

Sunday, as Ayon missed two free throws that could’ve tied the game

in the closing seconds. Ayon, who finished with nine points and 12

rebounds, started in place of the injured Glen Davis, who missed

his second straight game and is out indefinitely with a left

shoulder sprain.

Arron Afflalo scored 20 points while Nikola Vucevic added 16 and

16 rebounds for Orlando, which tied its season worst with 20

turnovers.

“Turnovers are always going to hurt,” Vucevic said. “You’re

missing an offensive chance to score. We had a lot of them.”

The Magic, who committed 18 turnovers in Friday’s 93-90 loss at

Toronto, have shot 50.0 percent in back-to-back games but have been

doomed by their inability to take care of the ball.

“I think it’s pretty simple,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “You

outrebound a team, you shoot 50 percent from the field, make nine

3s, have 20 turnovers for 22 points. The game is really that

simple.”

Anderson sat out with a calf injury for Orlando as New Orleans

won the most recent meeting 93-67 on Jan. 27, marking the Hornets’

fourth straight victory in the series.