NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Paolo Banchero capped a 29-point performance with three clutch mid-range jumpers in the closing minutes, and the Orlando Magic defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 101-93 on Monday night.
The first two of Banchero’s big shots broke ties before he hit another to make it 97-93. Franz Wagner, who had 11 points, added a 10-foot floater from the baseline with 25 seconds left and Orlando held on from there. New Orleans lost its fourth straight.
Markelle Fultz and Moritz Wagner each scored 14 points for Orlando, which also got 11 points and 11 rebounds from Wendell Carter Jr.
Brandon Ingram scored 25 points for New Orleans (30-32), which is clinging to the 10th and final Western Conference play-in spot by percentage points over Portland (29-31), with those clubs set to play one another later this week.
CJ McCollum added 18 points for the Pelicans, who’ve struggled ever since star power forward Zion Williamson went out with a right hamstring injury in early January.
Orlando led by as many as 11 points when Jalen Suggs’ 3 made it 36-25 at the end of the first quarter.
Trey Murphy III’s 27-foot 3 and alley-oop dunk of Naji Marshall’s lob in transition helped the Pelicans slowly chip away during the second quarter, when New Orleans held Orlando to just 14 points.
Josh Richardson’s pull-up jumper from the top of the key pulled the Pelicans within 50-49 as time expired in the first half.
Orlando led for most of the second half, but never by more than eight, allowing the Pelicans to claw back into an 89-all tie on Herb Jones’ free throw with 4:51 left.
Magic: Improved to 11-20 on the road after going 10-31 in away games last season. … Outshot the Pelicans 45.6% (36 of 79) to 44.7% (34 of 76) and outrebounded New Orleans 43-38.
Pelicans: Williamson missed his 25th straight game with a right hamstring injury. The Pelicans are 7-18 during that stretch. … Jones scored 10 points. … New Orleans shot 22.2% (6 of 27) from 3-point range.
Magic: Visit Milwaukee on Wednesday in the second of three straight road games.
Pelicans: Visit Portland on Wednesday to open a three-game trip.
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