NIKOLA Vucevic broke out of a shooting slump in a big way as he hit clutch jumpers to help the Orlando Magic survive a gallant stand from the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans, 89-82, at the Amway Center on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
After a sluggish start, Orlando dominated in the second quarter to lead by as much as 15 points. But Terrence Jones, who started for injured Anthony Davis, led the Pelicans comeback in taking a brief lead early in the fourth before the Magic reserves put the Magic back ahead, 79-73, with more than eight minutes left.
Jones led another late push to trim the lead down to two, 82-84, with 1:23 remaining. But Vucevic countered with back-to-back jumpers to extend the lead back to six while the Pelicans failed to score the rest of the way.
Six Orlando players scored in double figures with Serge Ibaka and Evan Fournier each having 16 points. DJ Augustin and Damjan Rudez both added 11 apiece off the bench, while Vucevic had 10 markers and 14 rebounds to improve the Magic’s record to 5-7.
The Pelicans fell to a league-worst 2-10 despite Jones scoring 26 points. Lance Galloway added 15 off the bench while E’Twaun Moore finished with 14 markers.