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Channing Frye, Magic shoot lights out again to swat Hornets, 113-98

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The Orlando Magic are looking more like a playoff caliber team every day. For the second consecutive game, they put on a shooting exhibition, this time drilling the Charlotte Hornets, 113-98. All five Magic starters scored in double figures led by the rejuvenated Channing Frye’s 17 points.

Frye, the much heralded but disappointing forward out of Arizona, had his second straight strong performance for Orlando. He was 5 for 7 from the field, all three-pointers, as he followed up his 11-point performance on Monday in New Jersey. The Magic took down the Nets 105-82 in that game.

Orlando followed up Monday’s 54 percent shooting performance with one better. They hit 55 percent of their shots, including 14 for 24 from three-point range, good for 58 percent. Charlotte shot 46 percent and made 14 three-pointers, but could not keep up with the Magic.

The Magic used an 18-5 first quarter run to take a 23-11 lead. Less than 5 minutes into the game, all five starters had scored. Orlando led, 30-23 after one.

After the Hornets cut the lead to 50-45 on a Nicolas Batum three-pointer with 3:16 left, the Magic closed the half on an 8-0 run to take a 58-45 lead into the locker room. Evan Fournier and Frye each made three-pointers to spark the run.

Nikola Vucevic’s 10-footer with 6:43 left in the third quarter upped the Magic advantage to 70-52.  Orlando led, 89-73 after three quarters.

The Magic took their biggest lead of the game on Mario Hezonja’s three to make it 109-84 with 3:17 remaining. Charlotte made the game seem closer than it was at the end by hitting two late three-pointers.

Fournier added 15 points for the Magic while Vucevic and Tobias Harris had 14 and 13 points respectively. Seven Orlando players scored in double figures.

Jeremy Lamb had 16 points off the bench for the Hornets, who led the Southeast Division coming into the game. P.J. Hairston had 14 points and Kemba Walker added 10.

With the victory, the Magic trail the Hornets by only one-half game for second place in the division. The Miami Heat, with their victory in New Jersey took over the division lead. Orlando (14-11) trails the Heat by only one game.

Up next for the Magic is the Portland Trail Blazers, who make their only visit of the season to the Amway Center on Friday night.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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