It’s tough to imagine confidence being higher for the Charlotte Hornets.
They’ve won four games in a row, with two of those against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and then Wednesday night’s conquering of the Philadelphia 76ers on the road.
“As I told the group, they’re choosing this right now,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “This is a choice. They’re choosing to play with this effort, to have this mentality, play with this aggression and have this preparation before the game. They deserve credit. They’re locked in right now.”
Ending Philadelphia’s seven-game winning streak pushes Charlotte into Friday night’s game against the visiting Orlando Magic at Charlotte, N.C.
The Hornets know the approach they’ve used recently has paid off. The focus shifts to building more momentum.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” forward Miles Bridges said. “Our main goal is just to get better every game and make the playoffs. These are three good wins (against Milwaukee twice and Philadelphia), but we still haven’t done anything yet. We have to keep going.”
It has been the opposite for the Magic, which carries a 10-game losing streak. Half of the defeats during that stretch have come on the road.
Orlando at times has been just a few plays away from making a breakthrough. During the current skid, six of the setbacks have come by six or fewer points.
“I do think we are making some progress,” Magic center Robin Lopez said. “We want to win the games. … We want to be better every game, but we want to be winning games. We’ve been around that threshold so many times it’s a little bit frustrating. That’s going to motivate us.”
Cole Anthony said the Magic should be winning games soon.
“I don’t think anyone is getting too frustrated, at least from what I can see,” he said. “We’ve done a good job of getting in those games. We’re playing super hard. I think the more we keep putting ourselves in these situations, we’ll end up winning some of these.”
Coach Jamahl Mosley said there’s a good vibe around the Magic despite the record.
“They enjoy being around each other, they enjoy lifting each other up and encouraging one another — not just about basketball, but off the court as well, just life,” Mosley said. “That goes a long way and that means a lot to us to grow and build in that direction.”
The Hornets have already defeated the Magic twice, both times on the road.
Charlotte’s Gordon Hayward has scored 30 or more points in three games this season, including in the Philadelphia game. The Hornets have held their opponents to fewer than 100 points in the last two games — something that hadn’t happened in consecutive games this season until now.
Orlando has had four different leading scorers across its last five games. Anthony has held that distinction twice.
The Magic have been dealing with roster adjustments because of injuries to Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr. and Michael Carter-Williams among others. Bamba had a double-double in the most recent matchup with Charlotte.
Lopez has been playing a bigger role because of the injuries. He had a double-double in Wednesday night’s loss at Washington.
“I got to do whatever I can to help,” Lopez said.
–Field Level Media