Hayward produced 39 points and nine rebounds, and converted the game-winning layup with 0.7 seconds left to seal the 107-104 win. Charlotte went up by nine points in the fourth quarter, and allowed Orlando to tie the game up with 8.7 seconds left, but pulled ahead when Hayward capped off his evening with the go-ahead basket.
The Hornets received key contributions off the bench, with Miles Bridges leading the way with 18 points while rookie LaMelo Ball chipped in 11 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Hornets head coach James Borrego credited the bench unit with helping change the course of the game.
“I thought that they were fantastic, especially in the second half,” Borrego said. “That’s really what turned the game. We went small with Miles, LaMelo out there. The start of that fourth quarter was huge for us. They ignited us with their defense. A much more impactful performance by our bench. When they do that, we’ve got a shot every single night. I believe Miles has that capability every single night, LaMelo does. The bench was a big part of this win tonight.”
The victory over the Magic came just two nights after Borrego challenged Bridges and Ball to be better off the bench. The Hornets have proven to be a tough team to beat when the bench can contribute and they showed that once again on Sunday.
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