Wagner, Anthony lead Magic over Pelicans 123-110
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Franz Wagner had 30 points and nine assists, Cole Anthony scored 22 off the bench and the Orlando Magic beat the New Orleans Pelicans 123-110 on Friday night.
CJ McCollum led New Orleans with 23 points. Jonas Valanciunas had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Trey Murphy III added 18 points for the injury-riddled Pelicans, who lost for the eighth time in 11 games.
Orlando pulled away in the fourth quarter behind Wagner and its backups. Magic starters Paulo Banchero, Wendell Carter Jr. and Markelle Fultz did not play in the final period.
“In that fourth quarter, as a unit I thought we really locked in,” said Anthony, who played 26 minutes. “I thought we were pretty good with our rotations, and we did a good job of making them take tough shots.”
The Magic shot 52% overall and made 15 of 30 attempts from 3-point range. They were 30 of 34 at the free throw line.
“We just didn’t defend at a high level and we fouled too much. That’s what it boils down to,” Murphy said.
A three-point play by Jalen Suggs with 9:17 remaining broke a 95-all tie and launched a 12-2 run that put Orlando ahead for good.
“They were the aggressors and that’s why they shot extremely well from the field,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said. “They were going to force the issue, get to the paint. And if they didn’t have it, they kicked out to guys and they made shots.”
Wagner, who was 5 of 7 from 3-point territory, had 21 points and six assists in the first half.
“I got into good rhythm early on, got a couple of open ones,” he said, “and then I think our ball movement all night got really good shots for everybody.”
After falling behind by 14 early, the Magic made their first six shots of the second quarter, including 3-pointers by Wagner, Mo Bamba and Anthony, to get back in it.
Herbert Jones, who started for New Orleans after missing the previous four games with a lower back bruise, scored the Pelicans’ final five points of the half, leaving them with a 60-56 lead.
But the Pelicans were outscored 30-19 in the fourth quarter, with the 6-foot-10 Wagner holding McCollum to one field goal.
“Obviously we scored at a high clip, but I think it was our defense that allowed that to happen,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said.
Pelicans: Jones fouled out with 4:28 left. He scored 10 points in 19 minutes. ... F Naji Marshall sat out with a sore right big toe after playing at least 31 minutes in eight straight games. ... F Zion Williamson missed his ninth consecutive game with a strained right hamstring.
Magic: Wagner finished with a plus/minus of plus-21, and Anthony was plus-19. ... It was the first of six games in nine days for Orlando — one reason three starters got the fourth quarter off. ... The Magic are 12-8 since a 5-20 start.
Jonathan Isaac was recalled from the G League after playing three games with the Lakeland Magic, but was not activated.
Isaac has not played in an NBA game since tearing his left ACL in August 2020. There are no specific plans for activating him.
“We’re just taking it day by day, just seeing how his body responds,” Mosley said.
The 7-foot-2 Bol Bol, who had 12 points and five rebounds, got the crowd into the game with an eye-opening play during the Magic’s fourth-quarter run, weaving his way through the lane and finishing with a dunk over Murphy.
“Ninety-five percent of the stuff Bol does surprises me,” Anthony said. “It’s on one of those things that you see and it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s elite!’ It’s one of those things that doesn’t get old.”
Pelicans: Play at Miami on Sunday.
Magic: Play at Washington on Saturday night.
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