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Hornets end 11-game losing skid, 97-94 over Magic

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 26, 2012 at 9:54 pm •  Published: December 26, 2012
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The New Orleans Hornets were hoping that the way Robin Lopez has been playing recently would eventually translate into a much needed victory.

It took another nail-nibbling finish, but their patience finally paid off.

Lopez had a season-high 29 points and Greivis Vasquez scored a season-best 27 as the Hornets snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 97-94 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

The victory was the Hornets' first since Dec. 3 and comes with guard Eric Gordon getting closer to playing for the first time this season coming off knee surgery.

"That comes from my teammates. They look for me. They're giving me looks," Lopez said of his big night. "We've been scrapping, but it's just one game. We want to string together a few."

Jameer Nelson had a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead Orlando and Nik Vucevic added 19 points.

The Magic shot above 60 percent in the first half, but fell to 45 percent for the game (36 for 79). They were able to stay in game thanks to 11 3-pointers.

Orlando has lost three straight games since starting forward Glen Davis was sidelined with a sprained left shoulder.

His absence was exploited all night by a Hornets' offense that, led by Lopez, outscored Orlando 44-38 in the paint. Rookie Anthony Davis contributed to the Magic's misery underneath with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Hornets forward Ryan Anderson, traded by Orlando in the offseason, didn't shoot well (4 for 11) but finished with 15 points.

It marked the first time in three games the Hornets were able to close out a close game after losing their previous two by six and five points, respectively.

"It's huge for us," Anderson said. "Not only is it nice to beat the team that traded me, but it's great for this team. It's great for the morale. We've been battling to get a win. We've been fighting to the end. And this was a big step."

Orlando didn't score a field goal in the final 6:08 of the game, but still had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds.

New Orleans opened a 10-point lead in the third quarter, before the Magic reduced it 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.

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