Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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NBA Preview: Orlando Magic (25-36) at New Orleans Pelicans (30-31)

In the Western Conference, the New Orleans Pelicans are vying for a play-in spot.

If the Orlando Magic are to secure a play-in spot in the Eastern Conference, they must catch up.

As they get ready to meet on Monday night in New Orleans, both teams are having trouble reaching the postseason.

Since the All-Star break, the 10th-place Pelicans have lost both of their games. In a 128-106 defeat on Saturday, New Orleans trailed the Knicks by 20 points in the first quarter after losing to Toronto by five points on Thursday.

New York made 13 of 26 3-point attempts in the first quarter, while New Orleans made 2 of 19.

Before returning for a three-game road trip, the Pelicans, who lost three of four on the trip, will play their first home game in 17 days. At home, New Orleans is 20-10.

After losing to 12th-place Indiana 121-108 at home on Saturday, the Magic are 13th in the East and four games out of the final play-in spot.

The Magic made just 20.7 percent of their 3-point attempts (6 of 29) and 38.9 percent of their field goals (35 of 90). With a 17-2 run to start the third quarter and a 68-54 lead, the Pacers took control.

Markelle Fultz scored 18, Mark Banchero scored 19, and Wagner scored 21 to lead Orlando.

Jamahl Mosley, the Magic’s head coach, agreed that the team allowed its offensive woes to hurt its defense.

Before heading back home, Orlando, which is 10-20 on the road, makes stops in Milwaukee on Wednesday and Charlotte on Friday.

When it comes to the Pelicans and the season series, the Magic want to win both games. On Jan. 20, Orlando defeated visiting New Orleans 35-19 in the fourth quarter to win 123-110. Wagner scored 30 points.

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