McGrady, the NBA’s leading scorer, totaled 34 points despite going scoreless in the second quarter. He shot 12-of-28 from the field.
In the first quarter, McGrady leaped from one side of the lane to the other, nearly striking his head on the backboard before launching a shot while he was inches from landing. After passing George Lynch and P.J. Brown while airbone, McGrady converted a looping reverse layup that earned a prolonged standing ovation.
“Maybe I should try long jumping in the Olympics,” McGrady joked.
The game was tied, 27-27, after one quarter and stayed close until the end of the third, when McGrady hit an off-balance 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Orlando a 72-64 lead.
“He can do everything with the ball, not only against us but against everybody in the league,” Hornets coach Paul Silas said.
New Orleans got no closer in the fourth quarter and McGrady was serenaded with chants of “MVP” as he finished his sixth straight 30-point effort and 40th this season.
McGrady has led the Magic in scoring in each of his last 37 games, including the team’s last 21. He has scored at least 20 points in all 37 of those contests.
McGrady added five assists and nine rebounds, making 3-of-7 3-pointers.
Steven Hunter also had a notable performance for Orlando, matching a season high with six points in eight minutes off the bench. Rookie Gordan Giricek was the Magic’s only other scorer in double figures, totaling 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting.
“It was great to see,” Orlando coach Doc Rivers said of Hunter. “It was the first time in my opinion since he’s been back from injury that you saw the lift out of hiim and the spark out of him. And that’s something that we haven’t really seen. You saw a couple of flashes of it in practice and if he can come on like we’ve been saying, then that would be huge for our basketball team.”
David Wesley scored 24 points to lead the Hornets, who have lost three of five following an eight-game winning streak.
“I wanted to get this one,” Wesley said. “We just didn’t have it. We didn’t have a good shooting night. We are making some adjustments and some guys are a little tired. We just need to regroup and find a way to get it back.” Mashburn was limited to eight points on 4-of-13 shooting, while Baron Davis scored seven on 3-of-12 shooting off the bench.
“I need to be more productive and be able to sustain our momentum,” Davis said. “I need to keep working and keep taking shots in games until I get my rhythm.”
Brown scored 18 points and Jamaal Magloire chipped in 15 for the Hornets.
“There was no emotion, no intensity,” Brown said. “I didn’t feel like we were into it.”
The Hornets made just 4-of-11 free throws.