Magic hand Pelicans franchise-record 12th straight lossNew Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes (10) goes to the basket between Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) and forward Jonathan Isaac (1) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) --
“We just got to play better. We got to play better,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “We just got to keep competing, and we’ll try to get it figured out.”
Gentry was ejected late in the third quarter after receiving two technical fouls for complaining about officiating. It was his first ejection of the season.
Orlando center Nikola Vucevic returnd from a sprained ankle to score 20 points. He played 29 minutes in his first game since Nov. 20.
“I’m really happy to finally be back,” Vucevic said.
His teammates were thrilled to have the All-Star center back.
“He just knows how to play,” Isaac said. “He’s a great player. I think he slows the game down for us, and his ability to just bail us out with post-ups and knocking down shots is really (important for us).”
The Magic snapped a three-game losing streak.
Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with 29 points and eight assists. J.J. Redick added 23 points against the team that drafted him in the first round in 2006.
“It’s hard to lose. It’s also hard to win, so I feel like we got to just try to stay positive,” Holiday said.
The Magic led 58-57 at halftime and pulled away with a 41-point third quarter. Isaac had 11 points in the quarter.
Orlando made a season-high 17 3s, shooting 50% from long range. The Magic shot 51.2% overall from the field and had just eight turnovers.
Magic: D.J. Augustin had 17 points, and Even Fournier added 16. On Saturday night, Augustin, a New Orleans native, became the first athlete in any sport to have his jersey retired at Brother Martin High School. Augustin, who wore No. 14, led the school to two Louisiana state championships and is the program’s career scoring leader.
Pelicans: Brandon Ingram added 21 points, but early foul trouble limited him to 27 minutes. … Guard Josh Hart scored 20 points. … Before the game, Gentry reiterated the team is being “overly cautious” with No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, who has yet to play this season due to a knee injury. “He’s still in the rehab stage of it. He’s doing a lot of stuff. No one is more eager to get back on the court than he is - trust me on that one."
Magic: At Utah on Tuesday night.
Pelicans: Host Brooklyn on Tuesday night.