Despite dropping a 16 point first half lead Orlando leave New Orleans with the W 108-102, as the bench unit played the entire final quarter. The veteran presence of Terrence Ross and Gary Harris was the difference, with both making important shots through the final period.
Late in the third quarter the Pelicans tied the game. The Magic responded with 10 unanswered points to re-establish a lead. Coach Jamahl Mosely chose to not reintroduce any of the starting 5 in the final quarter, trusting Chuma Okeke, RJ Hampton and Moritz Wagner to get the job done along with Ross and Harris.
The Magic hold the league’s best defensive rating since the All-Star break. That strength was present again as they held the Pelicans offence to some low numbers. New Orleans made just 7 of their 31 shots from 3-point range and only 4 fast break points. Against a team that lives at the line Orlando limited the Pelicans to only 18 total free throw attempts.
Jalen Suggs returned from an ankle injury but played very limited minutes.
Magic Top Performers
Cole Anthony led the Magic with 19 points. His shooting was efficient and he also recorded 5 assists.
Gary Harris scored 16 points, shooting 4 of 6 from deep. He also made 2 steals.
Franz Wagner had 15 points having now scored double figures in 56 of his 67games played.
Terrence Ross came in with important fourth quarter points. His final total of 14 points wasa much needed boost to his confidence.
Wendell Carter Jr had a battle all night with Jonas Valanciunas. His stat line of 13 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists was a solid return for his efforts.
Absence Report – Markelle Fultz (injury management), Jonathan Isaac (rehabilitation of surgically repaired left knee), Bol Bol (out for the season after surgery to a foot injury) were absent. Both Magic two-way players Admiral Schofield and Ignas Brazdeikis were again assigned to the G-League Lakeland Magic.
Up Next As Orlando Leave New Orleans With The W
Having taken the win in New Orleans, the Magic now hold a record of 17 wins and 50 losses. This sees the Magic last in the Eastern Conference and holding the worst record in the NBA. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 4. The home record stands at 7 wins of 30 games played. On the road the record is 10 wins in 37 games played. Points per game sees the Magic scoring 103.8, whilst conceding 111.6.
The Magic will now return home for a six-game homestand, beginning on Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. When the teams met in November Orlando had a 115-97 fight back victory, that included out scoring the T’Wolves by 24 points in the final quarter!
The Minnesota Timberwolves
The T’Wolves have won 6 games straight and 8 of their last 10. Their record of 38 wins and 29 losses puts them 7th in the Western Conference, within striking distance of both Dallas and Denver for an automatic playoff spot. On the road they have won 16 of 33 games played.
Minnesota are tearing games up offensively. Last night against the OKC Thunder the Wolves took a win by 102-132. Malik Beasley scored 33 points and Anthony Edwards made 16 points. Karl Anthony Towns recorded a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Other double-digit scores came from Jalen McDaniels, Taurean Prince and Naz Reid. D’Angelo Russell dropped 12 assists.
Starting Unit: D’Angelo Russell (PG), Malik Beasley (SG), Jalen McDaniels (PF), Anthony Edwards (SF), Karl Anthony Towns (C)
Bench Unit: Taurean Prince, Jaylen Nowell, Naz Reid, Jordon McLaughlin, Josh Okogie, Nathan Knight, Leandro Bolmaro, Jake Layman, McKinley Wright IV (DNP)
Injury Report: Jarred Vanderbilt (quad), Patrick Beverley (ankle) both missed the OKC game.
As Orlando leave New Orleans with the W a game review by Josh Cohen is available on the Orlando Magic website.