Brandon Ingram scored a game-high 31 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans continued their longest win streak of the season with a 110-104 victory over the host Orlando Magic on Thursday night.
Josh Hart (22 points) made four 3-pointers and Devonte’ Graham (20 points) sank five triples, helping New Orleans win its fourth game in a row. The Pelicans were without starting center Jonas Valanciunas (non-COVID illness) as well as key reserve Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who was placed in the league’s health and safety protocols on Thursday.
Ingram opened the third quarter by making five consecutive jumpers, as the Pelicans extended a 55-43 halftime advantage to 65-45. Orlando countered with a 33-18 run to get within 83-78 entering the final period.
The Magic trailed 99-97 with 1:54 to go, but they were unable to complete the comeback as New Orleans finished 23-of-26 at the free-throw line.
Willy Hernangomez moved into the Pelicans’ starting lineup and had a season-high 16 rebounds, seven on the offensive end.
The Magic, who returned home following an eventful road trip that included a postponement in Toronto and wins over Brooklyn and Atlanta, were in search of their first three-game winning streak since February of the 2020-21 season.
Franz Wagner scored 17 of his 20 points in the third quarter.
Orlando’s Gary Harris added a season-high 22 points, and Cole Anthony (ankle) had 22 points and 11 assists after missing the previous three games. Wendell Carter Jr. (lower leg) also returned from injury and posted 17 points, 12 rebounds and three of the Magic’s 11 blocks.
The Magic once again persevered with several players out of action against New Orleans. That included six who remain in virus protocols: Mo Bamba, R.J. Hampton, Terrence Ross, Moe Wagner, Mychal Mulder and Ignas Brazdeikis.
Six of Orlando’s seven bench players were free agents who signed 10-day contracts (via NBA hardship exceptions) since Dec. 17. Admiral Schofield led that group on Thursday with eight points in 25 minutes.
New Orleans improved to 6-12 on the road, while Orlando’s home struggles continued with its 11th loss in 13 games at the Amway Center.
–Field Level Media