Anthony Davis rests, Pelicans lose to Magic
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Serge Ibaka scored 16 points and Nikola Vucevic broke out of his shooting slump with 10 points and 14 rebounds to help lift the Orlando Magic to an 89-82 win over New Orleans on Wednesday night.
Evan Fournier also finished with 16 points, while D.J. Augustin and Damjan Rudez scored 11 each and Aaron Gordon added 10.
The Magic dominated early before the short-handed Pelicans made it interesting down the stretch with Terrence Jones and Langston Galloway hitting some clutch baskets to cut into what was once a double-digit lead. After Jones pulled the Pelicans to 84-82 with a free throw, Vucevic responded with a jumper and putback to extend Orlando's lead back out to six points.
Jones, who started at power forward in place of injured Anthony Davis, led the Pelicans with 26 points.
New Orleans completed its comeback with 9:23 in the game when Buddy Hield knocked down a baseline jumper to put his team up briefly 70-69. But Augustin and Rudez countered with a combined 10 points during a stretch to put the Magic back ahead, 79-73.
Jones scored 12 points in the third quarter to help the Pelicans comeback from a 12-point first-half deficit to pull within one point late in the period. The Magic held on to a 65-63 lead at the end of the third.
After a sluggish start, the Magic got going in the second quarter. They came up with stops and Ibaka and Fournier both hit big shots to build Orlando's lead to 15 before heading into halftime with a 52-40 advantage.
Ibaka, who knocked down two big 3-pointers in the second quarter, led Orlando with 12 points while Fournier added 10 points in the first half. The Magic shot 46 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range while limiting the Pelicans under 33 percent shooting from the floor and forcing them into nine first-half turnovers.
Orlando's reserves also dominated in the first two quarters, outscoring their Pelicans counterparts 29-17 with C.J. Watson, Augustin and Rudez all converting key shots.
Jones led the Pelicans with 11 points in the first two quarters.
Pelicans: Langston Galloway, a free agent signee last summer, followed up his breakout game against Boston on Monday with 15 points off the bench against the Magic. He scored 21 points against the Celtics. … The Pelicans came in having lost two of three.
Magic: Vucevic came in shooting 5 for 32 from field in the Magic's last three games and had not attempted a free throw in any of the three games. … The Magic didn't convert their first field goal until Vucevic hit a jumper with 7:40 remaining in the first quarter.
Pelicans: Host Portland on Friday night.
Magic: Host Dallas on Saturday night. The Magic have lost nine of the last 10 at home to the Mavericks.