NBA

Afflalo leads Magic to win over Pelicans

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The Canadian Press
11/1/2013 10:11:41 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- There were so many positives from the Orlando Magic's first victory of the season that it was hard for coach Jacque Vaughn to stop praising his players.

The Magic held New Orleans under 40 per cent shooting in three of the four quarters and to 34.8 per cent for the game in a 110-90 rout Friday night that wasn't close after the first quarter.

Orlando got 30 points from Arron Afflalo, 20 from Maurice Harkless and had four other players score in double figures, while shooting 55.7 per cent from the field. That included going 11 of 22 on 3-pointers.

The Magic led by 18 points at halftime, 25 after three quarters and pushed the lead to as many as 30 in the final period.

"When we're able to dictate what we want the opponents to do we're in good shape and we were able to do that," Vaughn said. "Our focus on our game plan was there right from the start. To keep them under 40 per cent all night . we'll take that. It will give us a chance.

"And even the 11 (3-point shots) we missed, a couple of them were in-and-out and they were all good looks."

Harkless got most of the good looks in the first half when Orlando built a 53-35 lead by outscoring the Pelicans 31-15 in the second quarter. Harkless was 3 for 4 in the quarter, including two 3-pointers, and scored 12 points.

Afflalo took over in the third quarter, hitting all five field goal attempts, including three 3-pointers, and scoring 15 points as Orlando took command for good.

Kyle O'Quinn had 14 points and Jammer Nelson, Nikola Vucevic and Victor Oladipo added 10 apiece for the Magic. Oladipo, the second pick in the NBA draft, added six assists and six rebounds.

"New Orleans is a good team, but we came out and played the way we wanted to," Harkless said. "We've got to be able to put games like this together on a nightly basis.

New Orleans got 26 points and 17 rebounds from Anthony Davis, but the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft hit only nine of 23 shots as the Magic swarmed him every time he touched the ball. Jrue Holiday rebounded from 1-for-8 shooting in the first half to score 17 points, but neither he nor Davis could light a fire under a morose New Orleans team that dropped to 0-2.

"Let's face it, we've got some players who aren't playing that well," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "We've got to play much harder than we played. We just did not play with a sense of urgency on every possession."

The only other Pelicans in double figures were reserve Anthony Morrow, who hit all four 3-point attempts on his way to 14 points, and Eric Gordon, who had 12.

"It just wasn't us tonight," Gordon said. "The Magic just played harder and outworked us. We could never get in a flow throughout the whole game."

Orlando took control of the game in the second and third quarters, outscoring New Orleans 63-40 with Harkless and Afflalo taking turns leading the charge. Harkless had 12 points in the second quarter and Afflalo had 15 in the third as the Magic built a 25-point lead.

Orlando used a superb defensive effort in the first half to build a 53-35 lead. The Magic held New Orleans to 15-of-49 shooting (30.6 per cent), swarming the guards every time they entered the lane and making every possession a grind for the visitors.

The Magic started the game hitting five of their first six shots, including two 3-pointers from Nelson, but all it got them was a 22-20 first-quarter lead.

The Pelicans were 6 for 21 (28.6 per cent) in the second quarter, with Holiday and Tyreke Evans a combined 1 for 14 at halftime. Evans finished the game with no points on 0-for-7 shooting.

The Magic, meanwhile, were getting surprising contributions from Harkless, who scored 16 points in the first two games and matched that in the first half. The second-year forward from St. John's scored seven straight points and 12 of the Magic's last 18 in the quarter, including two 3-pointers.

Harkless' last 3 gave Orlando a 53-33 lead with 19 seconds left in the half and though Gordon made a driving layup at the buzzer, the Magic were clearly in control.

The Pelicans hit their first five shots, three by Holiday, in the third quarter but the closest they got was 62-48 on a highlight-reel lob-and-dunk from Holiday to Davis with 8:28 left in the third quarter.

The Magic answered with a 13-3 run and the lead was up to 24 when Afflalo nailed a 3-pointer to make it 75-51. Orlando finished the quarter with an 85-60 lead and all but one of its starters on the bench.

NOTES: The Magic honoured former player Tracy McGrady as part of the season-long celebration of the franchise's 25th anniversary. McGrady led the NBA in scoring his last two years in Orlando and was an all-star all four seasons (2000-2004) he played for the Magic. ...The Pelicans' roster starts the season with the least experience in the NBA, averaging just 3.6 years' experience. . Magic reserve PF Solomon Jones tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee against Minnesota and is out indefinitely.

Arron Afflalo (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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