Magic complete season sweep of Pelicans

Paolo Banchero led the way with 32 points, Wendell Carter Jr. was the game’s top rebounder as part of a double-double and the Orlando Magic scored a key victory in their battle for playoff position with a 117-108 triumph over the host New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.

The Wagner brothers combined for 42 points — Franz with 24 in a starting role and Moe with 18 off the bench — for the Magic (45-31), who won a third straight to move a half-game ahead of the idle New York Knicks (44-31) in their battle for the No. 4 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

CJ McCollum had a season-high 36 points for the Pelicans (45-31), who dropped a third in a row and into the sixth slot in the West.

Losing for the fourth time in five outings to open a six-game homestand, New Orleans led by as many as seven early on before the visitors dominated most of the second and third quarters.

Moe Wagner’s personal seven-point run gave Orlando its first lead in the fifth minute of the second period before Banchero scored 10 in the final 5:23 of the half to help the Magic take a 58-55 advantage into the break.

Orlando then gradually pulled away in the third quarter, with Carter and Franz Wagner hitting early 3-pointers to help produce a double-digit lead. The advantage was 91-76 by period’s end and the Magic kept the hosts at arm’s length from there to complete a two-game season-series sweep.

Franz Wagner shot 8-for-14 and brother Moe was 7-for-9 for the Magic, who outshot the hosts 51.2 percent to 47.4 percent.

Another difference in the game was Orlando’s 39-35 advantage on the backboards, with Carter gathering a game-high 11 to complete a double-double with 14 points and Banchero pulling down six on a night when he recorded his 10th 30-point effort of the season.

Cole Anthony aided the cause off the bench with five points and a game-high six assists.

McCollum’s 36 points were three more than his previous season-high and were largely the result of 5-for-12 shooting on 3-pointers and an 11-for-11 performance at the free-throw line. He also found time to fill out a double-double with a team-high 10 rebounds.

Dyson Daniels chipped in with 16 points, Zion Williamson had 15 to go with a team-high five assists, Trey Murphy lII scored 14 and Jonas Valanciunas 11 for New Orleans, which will play four of its final six games on the road.

–Field Level Media