Tonight at Time Warner Cable Arena, fans got their first look at the Charlotte Hornets for the first time since 2002 in preseason action as they took on the Orlando Magic in their third of eight preseason games leading up to the October 29th season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. After trailing for most of the final 2 quarters of action, the Hornets looked to Jannero Pargo to make a late push, and it would easily pay off for Charlotte as they would defeat the Magic 99-97 to go to 2-1 on the preseason, while Orlando dropped to 2-1 as well.
It was a tale of two halves for both squads, as the Hornets would enter the half with a 57-50 edge, but in the third, the Magic would claw their way back into the game and would have a comfortable edge, but entering the 4th quarter, it would be Pargo's time to shine for the Hornets, as he would get some good praise from Steve Clifford on his solid play in the quarter to lead the Charlotte comeback to get the win. "I was going to go back with Roberts with five or six minutes left, but Jannero was playing so well." quoted Clifford, and Pargo did played well indeed, finishing up with 16 points off the bench for the Hornets, who shot 42.6% from the field in the win.
Leading the way was "Big Al" Jefferson with 20 points for Charlotte, despite grabbing down just 3 rebounds on the night, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist chipped in 14 and Kemba Walker added 11 points. Finishing up the group of double-figure scorers for Charlotte was Gary Neal, who had 10 off the bench for the Hornets in tonight's win.
Orlando was led in scoring by Ben Gordon, who came back to Charlotte and lit up his former team with 17 points to lead the way for the Magic, which shot 44.6% from the field in the loss. Elfrid Payton and Tobias Harris each scored 14 points and Nikola Vucevic rounded out the Magic's group of double-figure scorers with 10.
The next Hornets preseason game will come on Wednesday morning at 11:00 a.m., as Charlotte takes on the Detroit Pistons in the annual Cool School Field Trip game for middle school students.