New Orleans (AP) — Given a huge assist by the NBA schedule-makers, the New Orleans Pelicans took full advantage.
Anthony Davis had 21 points and 15 rebounds and the Pelicans cruised past the road-weary, short-handed Orlando Magic 118-98 on Wednesday night.
Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway added 18 points each for the Pelicans, who never trailed after the first quarter and extended their lead to as many as 28 points.
Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton had 14 points each to lead Orlando, which finished 1-5 on a season-long six-game trip that featured five games in the last eight days. The Magic played their third straight game without leading scorer Evan Fournier, who is out with a bruised right heel.
"They were in a tough situation," said Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday, who had a season-high five steals along with 14 points and five assists. "We were going at them from the start, punching them in the mouth."
The Pelicans, back from their own season-long five-game trip, beat the Magic down the court all night to start a season-long six-game home stretch. New Orleans had 29 fast break points in the first half, passed its season-high of 30 midway through the third quarter and finished with 38.
"Our pace was very good," Davis said. "Whether they scored or missed, we tried to get it out real fast."
Trailing 25-20 the Pelicans took the lead for good by outscoring the Magic 12-4 to end the first quarter. New Orleans led 65-52 at halftime, 92-73 at the end of the third quarter and was ahead by as many as 28 points in the fourth even though Davis and Holiday sat out the entire period.
The Pelicans fell just short of their season-high of 121 points. Their 15 3-pointers were one shy of their previous best, with Evans and Galloway each hitting four.
Orlando hung with New Orleans early but ran out of gas quickly. After making 12 of 21 shots in the first quarter, the Magic went 27 of 67 the rest of the way.
"We have to figure it out," Orlando coach Frank Vogel said. "We have to stay together, we have to keep our heads up and keep believing in what we are and can be. We just aren't happy about how we played tonight."
Magic: Orlando is 3-4 in games Fournier has missed, losing four of the last five. . The Magic fell 4 1/2 games behind Chicago for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Pelicans: New Orleans ended a four-game losing streak to Orlando that dated to a season-opening victory in 2014-15. . When the teams met in November, the Pelicans were without Davis and Holiday and lost 89-82.
After playing the entire first quarter, Davis went to the locker room for X-rays on his left hand, leaving with an injury for the third time in the last five games. The X-rays were negative, and he re-entered the game with 4:54 left with tape on two fingers. In his absence, the Pelicans extended their lead from 32-29 to 54-42.
Jodie Meeks, who started in place of Fournier, left with a dislocated right thumb in the second half after hitting it on Davis' knee, further depleting the Magic. "I have no idea," Meeks said when asked how long he would be out. "This is the first time it's happened to me. Unfortunately it's on my thumb, and you do everything with your thumb, so we'll see after the MRI. The X-rays look pretty good so we'll see what happens."
Magic: They return to Orlando for the first time since leaving Jan. 7 and play Milwaukee on Friday. The Bucks swept two games from them in November.
Pelicans: On Friday they play the second of six straight home games against Brooklyn, which has the worst record in the NBA.
Posted on Thu, January 19, 2017
by By GUERRY SMITH, Associated Press