Wed, 23 Sep 2020

Magic beat Pelicans to snap skid before playoffs

Field Level Media
14 Aug 2020, 13:55 GMT+10

Nikola Vucevic scored 23 points, and the Orlando Magic tuned up for the playoffs with a 133-127 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, as a pair of short-handed teams concluded their seeding schedule Thursday night near Orlando.

The eighth-seeded Magic (33-40), ended a five-game losing streak in their final game before opening their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against top-seeded Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Orlando played without three of its top four scorers as Aaron Gordon (strained left hamstring), Evan Fournier (non-COVID illness) and Terrence Ross (NBA quarantine protocol) were sidelined, as was Michael Carter-Williams (left foot tendon strain).

D.J. Augustin added 22 points, James Ennis scored 16, Wes Iwundu had 15, Markelle Fultz had 11 and Melvin Frazier and Vic Law 10 each.

The Pelicans (30-42) played without seven key players as they finished 2-6 during the restart. Jrue Holiday (right elbow contusion), Brandon Ingram (right knee soreness) and Zion Williamson (right knee soreness) were injured, and Lonzo Ball, Derrick Favors, JJ Redick and E'Twuan Moore were held out.

Frank Jackson led New Orleans with 31 points, rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 29 points, Josh Hart added 23 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, and rookie Jaxson Hayes scored 13 points.

The Magic led by 16 points at halftime and pushed the lead to 22 before the Pelicans started a comeback.

Jackson scored the final six points of a 9-0 run that pulled New Orleans within 99-87 at the end of the third quarter.

Alexander-Walker converted a three-point play to get New Orleans within 106-96 with more than eight minutes remaining.

The Magic rebuilt the lead to 13 before the Pelicans pulled within five points with 24.4 seconds left, but they couldn't get any closer.

Orlando made 8 of 11 first-quarter 3-point attempts, including 3 of 3 by Vucevic, who had 13 points in leading the Magic to a 34-31 lead at the end of the quarter.

The Pelicans got within two points early in the second quarter before Orlando dominated the rest of the period.

The Magic led by 19 points on two occasions before finishing with a 77-61 halftime edge.

--Field Level Media

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