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t should be a rauco

Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:45 am

A week from now ... nes-jersey , the Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic will be in the early stages of reviewing how their seasons turned south.

On Friday, the teams will get together trying to get a win when Charlotte visits Orlando.

Charlotte (34-45) is concluding its second consecutive losing season since winning 48 games in 2015-16. The Hornets must win out to surpass last season’s win total.

Inconsistency has plagued the Hornets for most of the season. They are on a four-game losing streak after winning their previous four. It is their fifth losing streak of at least four games this season.

The Hornets will likely get a new general manager in the coming days. Rich Cho was fired Feb. 20 when the team was 24-33 and the team is working on an agreement with former Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, who holds four championships and like owner Michael Jordan played collegiately at North Carolina.

One thing any new GM will enjoy is Dwight Howard and Kemba Walker’s production, though the guard is struggling recently.

Howard owns the team record previously held by Larry Johnson in 1992-93 after posting his 50th double-double with 23 points and 17 rebounds in Tuesday’s 120-114 loss at Chicago. He has seven straight double-doubles and the Hornets are 25-25 when Howard gets double figures in points and rebounds.

“I do think — and he knows this — he’s still got a lot left,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford told the team’s website last month. “You can see it physically. For him to get the respect that he wants and deserves, he’s going to have to be on a team that plays well.

“Ultimately, it comes down to that. I know that he wants to go out on a high note and there’s a lot of things for players that are outside of what they can be accountable for. I think for him, that’s what everybody’s looking for.”

Walker scored nine points Tuesday, marking a season-high third straight game with fewer than 20 points. Since his 46-point game on March 22 against Memphis, Walker is averaging 17 points ... ant-jersey , shooting 43.4 percent and making 28.9 percent of 3-pointers.

Orlando (24-54) is concluding a fifth 50-loss season in the last six years since trading Howard in 2012. The Magic are 16-50 since opening the season with eight wins in 12 games.

Orlando is attempting to get a season-high three straight wins for the third time. The Magic also won three straight Oct. 21-27 and Feb. 5-8.

Orlando completed a successful back-to-back set by posting a 105-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. After rolling to a 97-73 win in New York, the Magic did enough to win despite shooting 27.6 percent from 3-point range.

Orlando is among the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league. Since making 18 in a win over Milwaukee on March 14, the Magic are shooting 28.5 percent (82 of 287) from long range in their last nine games.

Aaron Gordon rebounded from a 3-of-15 showing by scoring 20 points on 8 of 16 from the field Wednesday. Before then, he was shooting 30.6 percent in his previous four games.

“It was an important night for him because he’s had a tough couple of games lately and we’ve been talking one-on-one about getting him going, taking the right shots and playing within himself more and letting the game come to him rather than forcing,” Orlando coach Frank Vogel told reporters. “He did a great job with that tonight and as a result, shot a high percentage.”

The story for Orlando on Wednesday was how some players who were in the G League performed.

Jamel Artis scored 18 points after getting 16 in New York. Along with Khem Birch and Rodney Purvis, the trio scored 16 of Orlando’s 28 points in the fourth.

They will likely see more time, especially if Nikola Vucevic rests like he did Wednesday.

“We do have a lot of chemistry because we’ve all been playing in the G League together,” Artis told reporters. “Down in crunch time ... ton-jersey , we know what each other’s tendencies are, and we like to play together. We’re not selfish and we’re all unselfish. We ended out the game and I think that (unselfishness) helped us get the win.”

Charlotte has won the last 10 meetings since Dec. 16, 2015.

Joel Embiid expects his first playoff game in Philadelphia to be quite a scene.

”It’s going to be lit,” Embiid said.

And if the 76ers win, there will be more games like it next week.

The 76ers can become the first team into the Eastern Conference semifinals when they host the Miami Heat on Tuesday in Game 5 of the only East series that isn’t tied.

Also Tuesday, the Golden State Warriors get their second chance to eliminate San Antonio, and the Celtics and Bucks return to Boston for Game 5 of a series in which the home team has won every game.

Embiid was still sidelined while recovering from a broken orbital bone around his left eye for the first two games in Philadelphia, then returned to help the 76ers win Games 3 and 4 in Miami.

Now the 76ers, who just two years ago lost 72 games in one of the worst seasons ever while the Warriors were winning an NBA-record 73, can join the defending champions in the second round on the same night. The 76ers have advanced to the East semis just twice since reaching the NBA Finals in 2001.

Golden State missed its first chance to move on when San Antonio won 103-90 on Sunday. The Warriors were disappointed Hector Rondon Houston Astros Jersey , though far from devastated.

”We lost and we got another opportunity to try to close this thing out back at the crib,” Kevin Durant said, ”so no, we’re good.”

Ettore Messina will coach the Spurs again in place of Gregg Popovich, who will miss his third straight game following the death of his wife.

Some things to know about Tuesday’s matchups:


Series tied 2-2. Game 5, 7 p.m., NBA TV.

NEED TO KNOW: Milwaukee has shot 52 percent or better in the last three games and outscored Boston 433-427 in a series in which the Celtics won the opener in overtime and the Bucks took Game 4 by two points on Giannis Antetokounmpo ‘s follow shot with 5 seconds remaining.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Jaylen Brown. He’s scored 30 or more in two of the last three games, and his 11-point outing in Game 3 was the only game in the series Boston didn’t have a chance to win. ”I want to just continue to keep helping my team and shooting the ball well,” Brown said. ”It’s something that’s on and I want to continue to do that.”

INJURY UPDATE: The Celtics are listing guard Marcus Smart, sidelined since mid-March because of right thumb surgery Hayden Hurst Color Rush Jersey , as questionable. Bucks starting center John Henson has missed the last two games with a sore lower back.

PRESSURE IS ON: Jabari Parker and Thon Maker. Parker’s 16.5 points and Maker’s 5.0 blocks per game off the bench were huge keys in Milwaukee, but they have to prove they can take their show on the road. They managed all of two points in Boston, where Maker didn’t even get in Game 1.


Philadelphia leads 3-1. Game 5, 8 p.m., TNT.

NEED TO KNOW: Philadelphia is averaging 116.8 points in the series, tops among postseason teams, and the 76ers have outscored the Heat 127-85 in the fourth quarter of the four games.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Dwyane Wade, because it might be the last time to watch him play. The Heat star hasn’t committed to playing next season, so this could be the final game of his career if Miami loses.

INJURY UPDATE: Forward Josh Richardson is questionable with a left shoulder sprain, and the Heat are also dealing with injuries to fellow starters Tyler Johnson (left thumb) and Goran Dragic (sore right knee). If Johnson is limited Youth Sam Darnold Jersey , the Heat could insert Rodney McGruder for defense or give Wayne Ellington more minutes in hopes of getting his shot going.

PRESSURE IS ON: Miami’s starters. In what should be a raucous atmosphere in Philadelphia, the Heat have to make sure they aren’t run off the floor before Wade even gets off the bench.


Golden State leads 3-1. Game 5, 10:30 p.m., TNT.

NEED TO KNOW: Another loss would give the Warriors more in this postseason then they had all last year. Golden State was 16-1 (an NBA-record .941 winning percentage) in storming to its second championship in three years.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Manu Ginobili. The 40-year-old Argentine may have extended not only the series but also his career when he scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter of Game 4, so there’s at least one more chance to enjoy his brilliant style of play.

INJURY UPDATE: Ginobili was kneed in the thigh late in Game 4 and will be hoping to be pain-free after a day off. Also, the Spurs have ruled Kawhi Leonard out for Game 5.

PRESSURE IS ON: The Warriors, if only to avoid the aggravation of the old reminders about their big lead blown in the 2016 NBA Finals if they lose again and the series is prolonged while New Orleans, who they would play in the second round, continues to rest.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami and AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower in Boston contributed to this report.



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