Magic Pull Out Second Straight Thrilling Victory
Ross, Carter lead Magic past Pelicans in overtime
As the old adage goes, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” This was precisely Terrence Ross’ mindset in the waning moments of the Orlando Magic’s 115-110 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night. After missing a potential game winner at the buzzer in regulation, the 6-foot-6 veteran buried a pair of clutch shots in overtime, including a go-ahead fall-away jumper with 27.5 seconds remaining.
Other Clutch Moments
Just inside of a minute left in the extra session, Chuma Okeke poked the ball away from Josh Hart. Chasson Randle scooped up the loose ball and whipped a pass down to Okeke, who was ahead of the pack for a game-tying dunk. Wendell Carter Jr., who also had a big dunk with 2:48 left in overtime off a feed from Ross in screen-and-roll action, drilled four straight free throws in the final seconds to seal the win.
Immediately after the game, Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford raved about Carter’s all-around play since coming over in the blockbuster trade deadline deal from the Bulls. The 6-foot-10, 270-pound center finished Thursday’s victory with 21 points and 12 rebounds, both team highs. Sometimes young players need a change of scenery and a new system to maximize their abilities, and Carter, the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, is in the process of doing just that.
The Pelicans committed 24 turnovers, which led to 36 Magic points. Also significant was Orlando’s dominance inside. They scored 72 points in the paint. For the second straight game, the Magic made just five 3-pointers. Orlando and Memphis are the only two teams in the league this season with two or more wins in which they knocked down five or fewer threes.
Out for the Magic were Cole Anthony (non-displaced fracture, right rib), Michael Carter-Williams (illness), Gary Harris (strained left adductor), Karim Mane (sore right hamstring), Markelle Fultz (torn ACL, left knee) and Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation). Khem Birch played just five minutes before leaving in the first quarter with an illness. For the Pelicans, Zion Williamson (sprained right thumb), Brandon Ingram (right toe soreness) and Lonzo Ball (right hip flexor strain) didn’t play.
The signing of Randle to a two-way contract in mid-February has turned out to be a terrific move by the Magic. Making his fourth start of the season, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard finished Thursday’s win with a season-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists and three steals. It was the third time this year he scored in double figures.
Quote of the Night
“That’s kind of what got me into the league was me being a great defender and great rebounder. I’m definitely going to fit in very well. Understanding that defense is what wins games, especially in the NBA. There’s a lot of great players. If you can make these players take tough shots the whole game, you make sure you get good shots and play off your defense. You give yourself a great chance to win. I’m looking forward to just continuing to build with the coaching staff, continuing to build with my teammates. Just become a great team in the East.” - Carter
The Magic will now travel to Salt Lake City to take on the team with the league’s best record, the Utah Jazz, who have won seven straight and sit at 36-11. In Utah’s most recent victory over Memphis, Mike Conley scored 26 points, Jordan Clarkson had 24 and Bojan Bogdanovic poured in 23. Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz’s leading scorer, did not play in that contest (personal reasons).