Postgame wrap: Magic 119, Pelicans 96

Magic (34-38), Pelicans (31-43)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

ORLANDO – For the vast majority of its games over the past two months, New Orleans has been very competitive. A major exception: two head-to-head matchups against Orlando. After rolling to a 30-point triumph on Feb. 12 in the Crescent City, the Magic punished the Pelicans again Wednesday, building a huge second-half lead en route to a one-sided victory. Orlando went up by as many as 35 points before New Orleans made the final tally more respectable behind a fourth-quarter push.

“It’s just a terrible matchup for us, for some reason,” Pelicans fourth-year coach Alvin Gentry said of the Magic. “Our two worst losses this year have 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 (Wednesday). I’m not really sure why we can’t match up with this team, or why we can’t seem to score against this team.”

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

New Orleans sliced into a 22-point halftime deficit early in the third quarter, but Orlando immediately answered with a big spurt, forcing the Pelicans to call multiple timeouts after the margin became 88-61. Terrence Ross gave the Magic their first 30-point edge of the night with a three-pointer around the 3:00 mark of the third period.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

A rare bright spot on a brutal night for New Orleans, reserve wing Stanley Johnson was the lone Pelican in double-digit scoring through three quarters. Johnson tallied by far his most points since joining New Orleans via a midseason trade, finishing with 18. Ian Clark provided some much-needed second-half offense for the visitors and totaled 17 points on 7/13 shooting.

FOCUS ON: FIVE AT HOME

When the NBA schedule was released way back in August, New Orleans seemed to get a very favorable draw in terms of the close to ’18-19, with six of the final eight tilts at home, including a five-game homestand. Although the Pelicans are out of contention for a playoff berth, the next two weeks still should be a positive stretch, in terms of being able to have extra practice days and plenty of rest between contests. The homestand opens with games against Houston, Atlanta and Sacramento, all teams that have been hot lately and/or are optimistic about the future, based on the potential of younger prospects (such as rookies Trae Young and Marvin Bagley for the Hawks and Kings, respectively, as well as rising second-year pros De’Aaron Fox and John Collins). New Orleans couldn’t devote an entire season to the development and improvement of its unproven players, but the final stretch of the campaign will serve as a final chance for rookies Frank Jackson and Kenrich Williams, as well as young veterans Cheick Diallo and Jahlil Okafor, to head into the summer on a positive note. The schedule will give them every reason to be able to do so. Following the five-game homestand that concludes vs. the Lakers and Charlotte, New Orleans wraps up the 82-game slate at Phoenix, at Sacramento and home vs. Golden State.

BY THE NUMBERS

7, 3, 2: Elfrid Payton’s stat line in points, rebounds and assists, bringing an end to what was a personal five-game streak of triple-doubles.

23/55: New Orleans shooting in the paint. Per Gentry, the Pelicans missed 13 layups in the first half alone.

+7: Plus-minus for Pelicans reserve guard Dairis Bertans, the only New Orleans player in the positives for that stat.

New Orleans Pelicans Highlights vs. Orlando Magic

Highlights from Orlando as the Magic defeat the Pelicans 119-96

Game 74: Pelicans at Magic 3/20/19

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New Orleans Pelicans Highlights vs. Orlando Magic

Highlights from Orlando as the Magic defeat the Pelicans 119-96
Mar 20, 2019  |  03:00

Stanley Johnson Puts Up 18 vs Orlando | Pelicans-Magic Highlights

Highlights of Stanley Johnson's 18 point performance against the Orlando Magic
Mar 20, 2019  |  01:18

Ian Clark Scores 17 points vs. Orlando | Pelicans-Magic Highlights

Highlights of Ian Clark's 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists performance against the Orlando Magic
Mar 20, 2019  |  01:24

Pelicans vs. Magic Postgame: Alvin Gentry 3-20-19

Head Coach Alvin Gentry speaks to the media following the team's disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic.
Mar 20, 2019  |  01:23

Pelicans vs. Magic Postgame: Ian Clark 3-20-19

Ian Clark talks about why he thinks the Pelicans have had a hard time with the Magic this season.
Mar 20, 2019  |  01:05

Jahlil Okafor with the Fade Away vs Orlando | Pelicans-Magic Highlights

Jahlil Okafor with the nice fade away jumper vs the Orlando Magic
Mar 20, 2019  |  00:16

Darius Miller with the Finger Roll vs Orlando | Pelicans-Magic Highlights

Darius Miller gives a nice head fake before driving for the finger roll vs the Orlando Magic
Mar 20, 2019  |  00:13

Kenrich Williams Active in the 1st vs Orlando | Pelicans-Magic Highlights

Kenrich Williams active on offense and defense in the 1st quarter against the Orlando Magic
Mar 20, 2019  |  00:31
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