New Orleans Hornets’ P.J. Brown, right, blocks the shot of Orlando Magic’s Zaza Pachulia during the second quarter Tuesday in Orlando, Fla. (Photo by The Associated Press)
ORLANDO, Fla. – New Orleans Hornets coach Tim Floyd knows a lot about losing, so the woeful Orlando Magic have his sympathy.
Floyd’s Hornets handed Orlando its 16th straight loss, 100-91 on Tuesday night, and the body language coming off the Magic players reminded him of his dreadful tenure with the Chicago Bulls.
“When you lose a few a row, it becomes confidence as much as anything,” said Floyd, who went 49-190 in two-plus seasons with Chicago from 1999-2015.
The teams play again in New Orleans tonight, and another loss by the Magic would match the franchise record for futility. Orlando lost 17 straight in 1991-92, then drafted Shaquille O’Neal in the summer.
As far as the Magic are concerned, Floyd’s assessment hits the mark.
“It’s getting to the point where we’re going into games feeling like we’re going to lose,” said Tracy McGrady, had a season-high 15 rebounds but shot 6-for-19 for 16 points.
“That’s a bad feeling to have, so frustrating,” McGrady said. “The only thing that’s going to change us out of this is a win.”
Coach Johnny Davis also sees the defeatism that’s overcome his squad, especially in tough stretches.
“I’d like for us to really show a lot more fight in those moments,” said Davis, winless in six games since taking over for the fired Doc Rivers.
As for when the Magic’s season went sour, Floyd wondered if the turning point might have been Oct. 30. That’s when the Hornets rallied to win 100-98 in Orlando’s home opener.
“Had we come over and lost that here, they’d have been 2-0,” Floyd said. “I think it might’ve been a different season for them.”
For New Orleans, Baron Davis had 21 points and 11 assists and David Wesley added 17 points. Rookie David West had season bests with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and P.J. Brown added 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Darrell Armstrong had 10 points for New Orleans. Hours earlier, a judge dismissed battery and resisting arrest charges against Armstrong, who was on trial for allegedly striking an Orlando police officer.
“I just want to get back to basketball,” Armstrong said. “I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”
Gordan Giricek led Orlando with a season-high 23 points, and Juwan Howard added 16. Drew Gooden came off the bench for 11 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.
Orlando appeared well out of it before rallying to make things interesting.
New Orleans scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to seize a 81-66 lead, prompting some of the crowd of 12,264 to leave and others to let fly with jeers and boos.
But McGrady drained a 3-pointer with 9:44 remaining to start a run of 12 unanswered points and bring the Magic within three.
Wesley quickly responded with a 3, though, and Orlando got no closer than 5 again.
“When you’ve lost 15 in a row, those are the kinds of shots that are daggers,” Floyd said. “It’s a confidence thing.”