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Paolo Banchero has 2nd career triple-double, Magic beat Pelicans 121-106

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Paolo Banchero had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for his second career triple-double, overcoming early shooting woes to help the Orlando Magic beat the New Orleans Pelicans 121-106 on Thursday night.

“Just trying to let the game come to me,” Banchero said. “I tried to communicate with my passing. I just wanted to keep finding guys.”

At 42-28, the Magic wrapped up their second winning season in 12 years. They have won 18 of 23 games.

Banchero missed his first 10 shots, two of them free throws, then rallied to finish 9 of 18 from the field.

“Teams are loading up on him, defending him different ways. He’s making the right plays, the right pass, not forcing the game,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “He reads what the defense is doing, he adjusts as the game is going on and then finds his time to attack. That’s what an All-Star does.”

Jalen Suggs led Orlando with 22 points, and Franz Wagner added 18.

Trey Murphy III had 21 points for New Orleans. Zion Williamson added 20 points, seven rebounds and a spectacular block of Banchero that helped New Orleans get off to a good start.

The Pelicans, who had won seven of eight, lost forward Brandon Ingram early in the second half to a left knee injury. Teammates helped Ingram off the court and the Pelicans were awaiting results of an MRI late Thursday night.

“Hopefully, there’s nothing wrong with him,” Murphy said.

After the Magic fell behind by 12 points in the first quarter, Cole Anthony and Moritz Wagner came off the bench to lead a 33-10 charge over the next nine minutes. Orlando led 47-36 before Banchero scored a point.

“In the huddles we kept saying, ‘Don’t panic, don’t worry. We’re getting what we want,'” Banchero recalled. “As log as we defend and get shots ... everybody was just echoing the same thing — `Just stay at it. It’s going to come.'”

The Magic stretched the lead to 20 by the end of the third quarter before Murphy, Williamson and CJ McCollum got the Pelicans back in the game with 10 straight points.

But Banchero dunked after a Pelicans’ turnover to finish an 8-0 Orlando run that put the game away midway through the fourth quarter.

The Pelicans shot 54.5% but made only six of 20 3-point shots and committed 19 turnovers, eight of them by Williamson.

“We have to create 3-point opportunities for each other, and this is one of their strengths defensively,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said. “Every time the ball goes side to side, we got quality looks. But 20 3s is not enough. Give them credit. They were mentally tougher tonight than we were, and they were more disciplined tonight.”

Magic guard Gary Harris left the game with a sore right foot.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: At Miami on Friday night.

Magic: Host Sacramento on Saturday night.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba