Pelicans can’t keep up in loss to Magic

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Nik Vucevic scored 28 points and matched his career high with seven assists, leading the Orlando Magic to a 104-89 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.

Evan Fournier had 20 points, Tobias Harris added 14 and Andrew Nicholson scored 13 for the Magic, who used a pair of surges early in the third and fourth quarters to pull away.

Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 20 points and eight rebounds. Norris Cole scored 17 and Tyreke Evans finished with 16 points and eight assists.

Nicholson entered at the start of the fourth quarter and scored 11 points in the first 5 minutes. The Magic hit their first five shots of the period, including consecutive 3-pointers from Nicholson and Mario Hezonja to bump an 11-point lead up to 87-69.

Jason Smith’s 18-footer with 9:36 to go finished the 12-4 run, and the Magic coasted the rest of the way.

The fourth-quarter surge mimicked a third-quarter run when Orlando built its first big lead.

Fournier hit three straight shots and Vucevic contributed a pair of jumpers as the Magic continually exploited the pick-and-roll game against a disorganized Pelicans defense.

Fournier’s last shot, a 3-pointer, finished off a 15-6 run to start the second half and gave Orlando a 65-52 lead 5 minutes into the third quarter.

New Orleans trailed 75-60 when Davis went down after a midair collision with Magic guard Victor Oladipo. Davis was defending the rim when Oladipo blew past his defender at the 3-point line and soared unimpeded at Davis, sending the Pelicans’ power forward crumbling to the ground.

Davis left the court and went into the locker room before returning with just under 8 minutes left in the game. He didn’t score again and the Pelicans had nowhere else to turn for someone to start a rally.

Vucevic and Davis had a 1-on-1 contest in the first half, ultimately won by Vucevic and Orlando, which led 50-46 at halftime

The Magic center had 16 points on a mixture of driving layups and 18-foot jumpers as Orlando hit 52.5 percent of its shots. Fournier contributed 13 points and went 2 for 2 from 3-point territory.

Davis had 14 first-half points on a nearly-identical mix of inside-outside game, but he got considerable help from Cole, who came off the bench and shot 5 of 7 from the field for 11 points. Cole also had five rebounds.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: New Orleans is 0-15 when scoring fewer than 100 points. . Davis leads the Pelicans in 10 of 15 single-game statistical highs this season, including points (43), rebounds (19), blocked shots (nine), minutes (50) and field goals made (14). . New Orleans was 1 for 6 from the free throw line in the first half.

Magic: Opponents have shot 50 percent against Orlando over the last four games. … Each of the five reserves who played in the first half had a minus rating, while all five starters had a plus rating. . The Magic are 12-5 since Nov. 25, the best record in the East during that span. . Opponents have shot more free throws than Orlando in 22 of 31 games this season.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.

Magic: Host the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.