New Orleans, LA -- Evan Fournier totaled a career-high 30 points, Nikola Vucevic added 22, and the Orlando Magic grabbed their first win of the season over the still winless New Orleans Pelicans.
Evan Fournier had a career night for the Magic in a game that the Magic led by 18. The Pelicans fought back, behind Anthony Davis' 14 and Eric Gordon's 21 points, but it wasn't enough as the struggling Pelicans continue their losing streak to start the season.
"The first two games of the season, when we had leads we let them slip away, but tonight we made sure to hold onto the lead,’’ said Vucevic, who made 10 of 21 shots and had four of his 13 rebounds on the offensive end. ``We defended well and we ran our stuff. I’m glad we kept our lead and we were able to finish the game the right way.’’
Elfrid Payton struggled shooting from the floor, just 4-12, but posted 8 points and 10 assists. This is the biggest key for Payton is him needing to develop the shot. Teams are going to sag off him and make it incredibly difficult to play to his strengths - creating plays off the dribble.
The Pelicans almost fought their way back down 18 points. but again did not look good. They've struggled badly this season, although two of their losses came from the defending champion Golden State Warriors.They are short-staffed, and really have no scoring threats other than Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis. Davis had a near double-double tonight with 14/9 but shot just 3-12.
"I thought overall defensively we were pretty sharp and that allowed us to get some pretty easy opportunities (on the offensive end) and our ball movement was pretty good,’’ Skiles said. "We did a nice job on (New Orleans’ star Anthony) Davis for the most part. … We were able to at least hold them off and that’s a sign of progress for us.’"
The Magic definitely have things to work on, but they are young and talented. Their lineup all-around is special and a work in progress. Nikola Vucevic has been a bright spot for them, as he had another solid night. Tobias Harris shot just 4-11 but Fournier really picked up the slack.
The Pelicans struggled from three early on, hitting just one of its first 13 shots from behind the arc.
The Magic will take on the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, in a very difficult matchup. The Rockets recently grabbed their first win, and will most definitely be out looking to catch fire against this young group.
The Pelicans will host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, and may be winless for a while. Right now they don't look like a contender to make the playoffs but there is still a lot of season left. They have time to turn it around, they just need to show improvement soon.