Banchero leads Magic past Hornets

Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges (0) brings the ball up court against Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)

CHARLOTTE — Former Duke Blue Devil Paolo Banchero had 20 points, while former North Carolina Tar Heel Cole Anthony scored 14. Twelve of Anthony’s points came after halftime. The two college rivals helped surging Orlando Magic beat the Charlotte Hornets 101-89 on Tuesday. It was their ninth win in 11 games.

Another product of Tobacco Road, Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr., had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Magic. Orlando (36-26) moved 10 games above .500 for the first time since April 18, 2012.

Anthony was one of four reserves to score in double figures for Orlando, whose bench outscored Charlotte’s 46-23.

Vasa Micic, who got the start at point guard with LaMelo Ball and Cody Martin out with injuries, had a career-high 21 points. Charlotte (15-47)  lost its fifth straight game. Tre Mann and Brandon Miller each scored 18 for the Hornets.

The Magic led 45-43 at halftime as 52% shooting from the field helped them overcome 12 turnovers.

Orlando began to create some separation near the end of the third quarter with Banchero knocking down a 3 and Anthony scoring on a driving layup high off the glass and connecting on a 3 from the top of the key to push the lead to nine entering the fourth.

Anthony stayed hot in the final period, scoring seven straight points to push Orlando’s lead to 92-76 with seven minutes to play.

The Hornets never got within 10 points of the Magic again.

Charlotte’s Miles Bridges, who entered averaging 21.4 points per game, was held to seven points on 3-of-16 shooting.

Up next, the Hornets play at Washington on Friday night. The Wizards are 9-52 on the year and in last place in the Eastern Conference, two spots and five and a half games behind the Hornets.