Wanting no part of making his halftime speech public, James Borrego wasn't about to divulge any little detail.
He wasn't in the mood to offer specifics.
"I'll leave that in the locker room," the Charlotte Hornets coach said.
Whatever edict was delivered worked because the Hornets picked it up in the final two quarters, particularly in the third. Trailing by two points to begin the half, they outworked Orlando and made all the necessary plays to secure a 122-112 victory at Spectrum Center on Friday night.
Guess you could say Borrego's message was received.
“Pretty much just locking into the game plan," Ball said of the Hornets' picking it up after halftime. "We knew we had to tighten up on the defense in the second half. We all just knew to come out and tighten up on the defense. We definitely knew we had to bounce from the last game last night. Think we did that and got the win.”
Terry Rozier (28 points) and Ball (27 points) were huge reasons why, too. Along with PJ Washington (23 points), they fueled the Hornets' offense after halftime. Combining for 43 of their team's 62 points in the third and fourth quarters was key in keeping them in position to clinch a spot in the play-in tournament. With five games remaining, they remain in eighth place, 1.5 games ahead of Indiana and two behind seventh-place Boston heading into Saturday's action.
Even though he couldn't get his jumper going, Ball was overall much more effective against Orlando than he was in Thursday's loss to Chicago. He attacked the basket consistently and added six rebounds and six assists, marking the 10th time this season he's racked up at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
One thing that's been noticeable about Ball's output: he rarely, if ever, seems to have consecutive games where he's not sharp and effective. Typically, he has a knack for bouncing back and the Magic found that out firsthand.
“Yeah, I think that’s tough for any rookie, especially at this time of year," Borrego said. "I think a lot of rookies are falling apart this time of year. And maybe because he was injured there for a while he’s fresh now. But his consistency is one of his strengths. If he has an off night, he finds a way to come back and respond every single time. He’s a resilient kid. He’s a tough kid. He’s a proud kid. He’s a competitive kid. All of that equals a very good player. I was proud of him tonight. I thought he was very good. We’re challenging him on both ends of the floor and I thought his overall game -- not just his offense -- but his defense was there tonight as well."
As was his determination to get it together, knowing what is at stake.
"Definitely had to bounce back, like I said," Ball said. "I feel like growth, we took a little step. We knew we had to win this one tonight and that’s what we did. So, proud of everybody."
Quotable: "What a lot of us don’t see is in the timeouts and the huddles, he’s the guy rallying the troops. He’s the guy talking, he’s the guy communicating, he’s the guy pushing this group forward. Thank God for Biz. He’s been a fantastic leader on this team, a veteran, that we can really rely on. And then his defense was there all night. I think he was a major factor in defending this team tonight. Give Biz a ton of credit. He worked his tail off." -- James Borrego on Bismack Biyombo (11 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks)
Noteworthy: One night after getting pounded on the boards, the Hornets outrebounded the Magic 51-47. That 50 has been a benchmark of sorts because they are 12-2 when grabbing 50 or more rebounds, and that mark includes wins in the last five outings in which they've stockpiled 50-plus rebounds.
Up next: vs. New Orleans, 7 p.m. Sunday