Pelicans.com postgame: Magic 110, Pelicans 90
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
ORLANDO – Playing in their home opener Friday, the Orlando Magic didn’t look at all like a team projected by virtually every NBA analyst to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. Outshooting and outhustling the Pelicans at every turn, Orlando made life miserable for New Orleans (0-2) in its second straight loss to open 2013-14.
The Magic, who shot a blistering 61 percent from the field through three quarters, built a 30-point lead early in the fourth. As Orlando (1-2) shot the lights out in its home debut, New Orleans compiled a forgettable offensive performance, connecting on just 34.8 percent of its attempts from the floor. Anthony Davis had one of the best games of his young NBA career from a statistical standpoint with 26 points and 17 rebounds, but it was little consolation on a night when the Pelicans were hoping to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss to Indiana.
After playing outstanding basketball in the first half Wednesday against the Pacers, the Pelicans were dominated by a 53-35 margin prior to intermission Friday. Six different Magic players finished the game with double-figure points, led by Arron Afflalo's game-best 30.
“We missed a lot of shots,” Monty Williams said. “I don’t know what our percentages were in the paint tonight, but we missed a number. Tyreke (Evans) was 0 for 7. He usually doesn’t miss shots in the paint. We had 92 attempts. You’ve got to make shots. We had our chances.”
New Orleans went 18-for-53 in the paint and was just 26-for-80 from two-point range overall. Aside from Davis and Anthony Morrow (14 points, 4-for-4 on three-pointers), the Pelicans struggled teamwide on the offense end.
Orlando led just 22-20 through the first quarter, but broke it open with a 31-15 second period.
“I thought we came out hoping things would go our way and they didn’t,” Williams said. “Our first half I think we allowed our offense to dictate the rest of the game and that’s not what we’ve been. We’ve just got to recognize who we are. Being a young team, we’ve got to play extremely hard, and much harder than we played tonight.”
The Pelicans won’t have to wait long to get the opportunity to do so, hosting the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday at 7 p.m. Central. New Orleans will try to crack the win column for the first time, before hosting Phoenix on Tuesday.
Asked if he were glad his team is jumping right back into game action in less than 24 hours, Williams said, “Yes, you are. But to be honest with you I wish we had a day of practice because we need to get back to work. We’ll be a lot better tomorrow because we have character in our locker room.”