The New Orleans Pelicans ended their preseason campaign on a high note, defeating the Orlando Magic 104-92 on Tuesday night at the Amway Center. The Pelicans improved to 1-3 in the preseason, while the Magic dropped to 2-1.
Ingram and Williamson lead the way for Pelicans
Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson were the stars of the show for the Pelicans, combining for 34 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and five steals. Ingram scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including four three-pointers, and added six assists. Williamson had 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, along with three rebounds, three assists and five steals.
The duo showed their chemistry and versatility on both ends of the floor, as they made plays for themselves and their teammates. Ingram hit a clutch three-pointer with 2:15 left in the fourth quarter to give the Pelicans a 10-point lead, while Williamson displayed his explosive athleticism with several dunks and defensive plays.
Wagner shines in losing effort for Magic
The Magic were led by rookie Franz Wagner, who scored a game-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including three three-pointers. The eighth overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft also grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots in 28 minutes of action.
Wagner showed his potential as a versatile forward who can score from inside and outside, as well as defend multiple positions. He scored 11 points in the third quarter, helping the Magic cut a 14-point deficit to six. He also had a highlight-reel block on Williamson in the fourth quarter, denying him a dunk attempt.
Pelicans dominate the paint and the glass
One of the keys to the Pelicans’ victory was their dominance in the paint and on the boards. The Pelicans outscored the Magic 50-36 in the paint and outrebounded them 49-38. They also had 16 offensive rebounds, leading to 18 second-chance points.
The Pelicans’ frontcourt of Jonas Valanciunas, Herb Jones and Josh Hart played a big role in this aspect, as they combined for 29 points and 25 rebounds. Valanciunas had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Jones had nine points and eight rebounds. Hart chipped in six points and six rebounds off the bench.
Magic struggle with turnovers and shooting
The Magic had a rough night offensively, as they committed 21 turnovers and shot only 40.5% from the field and 28% from beyond the arc. The Pelicans capitalized on their mistakes, scoring 24 points off turnovers.
The Magic’s backcourt of Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs had a particularly tough time taking care of the ball and finding their rhythm. Anthony had nine points, four assists and six turnovers, while Suggs had eight points, four assists and five turnovers. They also shot a combined 6-of-21 from the field and 1-of-9 from three-point range.
What’s next for both teams?
The Pelicans will open their regular season on Wednesday, October 25 at home against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Magic will start their regular season on Friday, October 27 on the road against the San Antonio Spurs.