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    Dwight Howard stars as Hornets assert mastery of Magic to snap four-game skid

    Feb 15, 2018

    ORLANDO, Florida — Dwight Howard had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and the Charlotte Hornets stopped a four-game slide by topping the Orlando Magic, 104-102, on Wednesday night (Thursday, Manila time).

    Kemba Walker had 20 points for Charlotte on 6-for-19 shooting. Nicolas Batum added 14 points and seven assists in the Hornets' 10th straight win against the Magic.

    Mario Hezonja led Orlando with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but the Magic lost their third straight going into the All-Star break. D.J. Augustin and Marreese Speights had 16 points and Bismack Biyombo finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

    Orlando led 97-96 before Walker hit a 3-pointer with 1:12 to play. Batum hit another 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to stretch Charlotte's lead to 102-97.

    The teams traded free throws and Speights hit his fourth 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.

    Howard went 9 for 16 from the field and 4 for 6 at the free-throw line. He scored 10 straight Hornets points in the middle of the third quarter, and didn't get another basket until the three-minute mark of the fourth.

    Walker followed Howard's spurt with five straight, but didn't get his next basket until his 3-pointer put Charlotte ahead in the final minute.

    Orlando had similar issues.

    Hezonja had a nice run of eight points late in the third period, but all that did was keep the Magic close. He made only one basket in the fourth quarter.

    Orlando trailed by nine early in the fourth before making three straight 3-pointers. Aaron Afflalo made the last two of the 3s, but then missed his next three shots and went to the bench.

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    TIP-INS

    Hornets: Kemba Walker made a four-point play with 32 seconds left in the first half. ... Howard has 702 career double-doubles, most of any active player in the NBA.

    Magic: Jonathon Simmons didn't start the second half, but returned to the game three minutes into the third quarter. ... Orlando is 2-9 in its last 11 home games against Charlotte. ... PG D.J. Augustin broke out of a 1-for-8 shooting slump from 3-point territory, going 4 for 6 from long range.

    UP NEXT

    Hornets: Host Brooklyn next Thursday. Charlotte has won four straight at home against the Nets.

    Magic: Host the New York Knicks next Thursday.

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