Magic blows out Pelicans, 119-96
Though the New Orleans Pelicans appeared to have defeated the 6-9 Magic that resides in Los Angeles, they have been utterly spellbound by the Magic of Orlando.
The Pelicans suffered their second blowout defeat this season at the hands of the Magic, falling 119-96 Wednesday night on the road.
Orlando has handed New Orleans its two worst losses of the season after beating the Pels by 30 at the Smoothie King Center on Feb. 12.
“Just a terrible matchup for us for some reason,” said Alvin Gentry. “Our two worst losses this year has been against them really. They’ve both been 30-point games. I don’t really care what the stat sheet says, it was a 30-point game at the end. I’m not real sure why we can’t matchup with this team.”
New Orleans averaged 92.0 points per game on 37.8 percent shooting against the Magic this season.
Just to accent how much of an “off night” it was, Stanley Johnson was the team’s leading scorer with 18 points and Ian Clark was second with 17.
Johnson had scored a grand total of 26 points for the Pelicans in 12 games.
Frank Jackson was tops among starters with 14 points, but he needed 17 shot attempts to reach that mark. I’m
Elfrid Payton’s triple-double streak got snapped like a dry twig by the team that drafted him. Payton finished with seven points, three rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes.
Julius Randle failed to get anything going; missing 8-of-9 from the floor and scoring only six points in his 21 minutes of action.
The Magic had five players reach double-figures, led by Evan Fournier’s 22. Aaron Gordon scored 20 points and Nikola Vucevic had a double-double with 15 points and 17 rebounds.
Pick a way to get beaten and the Pelicans found it. They were out-scored, out-shot, out-rebounded, and for the first time in quite a while, they were out-hustled from the opening tip.
Before the echo of the last player introduction had dissipated, the Magic jumped out to a quick 12-2 lead. By the end of the first quarter, New Orleans trailed 39-25.
That 14-point lead would swell to as many as 35 before the second unit made the game slightly more competitive late.
“When you come out and get hit in the mouth you are just fighting an uphill battle trying to make sure…everything has to go right for you,” said Clark. “You have to make every shot. They have to miss every shot and tonight they were making them. We weren’t doing a good enough job of being physical and getting them off their spots. I think they were a little comfortable and that set the tone for the rest of the game.”
New Orleans’ loss was its seventh in its last eight games.
The Pelicans will try to get off the mat back at home in the Smoothie King Center on Sunday at 6 p.m. when they host the Houston Rockets. A win would hand New Orleans the season series between the teams, something the franchise hasn’t done since the 2010-11 season.
Though the Rockets are jockeying for playoff position and the Pelicans for lottery position, this is one game New Orleans fans would surely rather win than lose.
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David Grubb has more than a decade of experience in the sports industry. He began his career with KLAX-TV in Alexandria, La. and followed that up with a stint as an reporter and anchor with WGGB-TV in Springfield, Mass. After spending a few years away from the industry, David worked as sports information director for Southern University at New Orleans…