NBA

Lopez scores 29, Hornets end 11-game streak, beat Magic

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The Associated Press
12/26/2012 9:54:58 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Robin Lopez had a season-high 29 points and Greivis Vasquez scored a season-best 27 as the New Orleans Hornets snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 97-94 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

Orlando had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but came up empty on a 3-point attempt by Nikola Vucevic.

The victory was the Hornets' first since Dec. 3 and their fourth straight regular-season win over the Magic.

Jameer Nelson had 28 points and 10 rebounds for Orlando and Vucevic added 19 points.

Orlando dropped its third consecutive game. It was also the Magic's third straight loss since starting forward Glen Davis injured his shoulder. They head to Washington on Friday

The Hornets dominated inside, outscoring the Magic 44-38 in the paint.

New Orleans opened a 10-point lead in the third quarter, but that was reduced to just a basket entering the final period.

Orlando took its first lead since late in the first half, 92-91, on two free throws by Vucevic with 3:44 to play.

Two free throws by Lopez on the other end quickly put the Hornets back up a point before J.J. Redick's trip to the line nudged the Magic in front 94-93.

A floating jumper by Vasquez pushed New Orleans into the lead again, forcing the Magic to call a timeout with 50.7 seconds left.

Arron Afflalo got a lane to the basket, but his layup was blocked by Lopez.

Vasquez had his shot blocked by E'Twaun Moore on the Hornets' ensuing possession, but stepped on the baseline on his rebound attempt with only 25 seconds left.

Vasquez was fouled and made two free throws to make it 97-94.

Vucevic wound up in the corner and missed a 3-pointer off the side of the rim and Afflalo was unable to get up another attempt as the horn sounded.

Though defence tightened late, free-flowing offence was on display on both sides in the first half.

The Magic led 53-49 at the break, despite Lopez scoring 14 of the Hornets' first 20 points.

Lopez was 8 of 9 from the field and scored 19 points in the first half.

Orlando never trailed by more seven, though, keeping pace by connecting of seven 3-pointers in the half. The Magic's offence also got a big lift from Vucevic, who went right at the Hornet's interior defence, scoring 14 points.

Orlando shot 62 per cent from the field, connecting on 23 of 37 field goal attempts.

New Orleans wasn't much worse at 55 per cent, going 21 for 38 from the field.

Notes: Nelson's double-double was his fourth of the season. ... Hornets coach Monty Williams said G Eric Gordon, who hasn't played yet this season as he recovers from knee surgery, could be ready to play Saturday when New Orleans hosts Charlotte. He said Gordon is taking time to get back into playing shape. "We've got to make sure he's at a good pace before he comes back," Williams said. ... Magic F Hedo Turkoglu (broken hand) is making progress toward returning as well. Coach Jacque Vaughn said they, too, are being cautious about getting him ready for game action following the Nov. 2 injury. "He needs some more practices," Vaughn said. "He's got to get hit on that hand a few times."... Wednesday was the first game in Orlando for Hornets G Austin Rivers as an NBA player. The rookie played high school basketball at nearby Winter Park High School.

Robin Lopez (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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