NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis doesn’t want to play for New Orleans anymore. In a blowout loss Tuesday night, he noticed his teammates may have felt the same way.
“We sucked,” Davis said. “Nobody was interested in playing, is what it looked like.”
Davis scored just three points on 1-of-9 shooting and was thoroughly outplayed by Orlando center Nikola Vucevic as the Magic beat the listless Pelicans 118-88.
“Obviously I missed a lot of shots, a lot of easy shots — layups and stuff that I normally make— early in the game,” Davis added. “But they came out more desperate. They played like they were playing for something, and they showed it.”
Davis played 24 minutes in his third game since his agent told New Orleans the six-time All-Star wanted to be traded to a championship-contending team and won’t sign an extension with the Pelicans.
It was also his third game since returning from an injured left index finger. In his first game back, he had 32 points in a win over Minnesota, but he has averaged 8.5 points over the two games since.
Davis’ scoring output Tuesday was the lowest of his career in any game where he played at least 21 minutes.
The reeling Pelicans (25-33), who’ve lost six of seven, sit in 13th place in the West, six games behind Sacramento for that conference’s final playoff spot with 24 games left.
While the Magic (26-32) remain below .500, they’ve won four straight — including three straight on the road by 16 or more — to pull within a two games of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot as the All-Star break approaches.
Vucevic had 25 points and 17 rebounds, Evan Fournier scored 22 points, and Jonathan Isaac scored a career-high 20 points, including 16 in the first quarter, when Orlando raced to a 39-11 lead.
Aaron Gordon added 20 points for the Magic, who led by as many as 31 points and kept the lead above 20 the rest of the way en route to their fourth straight victory.
“It was an impressive show of games by us, the last three games. We really took care of business and really executed the game plans that the coaches put in,” Vucevic said. “We talked about the stretch right before the (All-Star) break and how it is an important one, how we can win some games and put us back in a good spot going into the second part of the season. We did that so far.”
The normally up-tempo Pelicans, who came in averaging almost 116 points per game, shot 38.3 percent (36 of 94) en route to their lowest single-game point total this season.
E’Twaun Moore, who has struggled with injuries this season, scored 19 points in his first start since Jan. 22. Jrue Holiday had 16 for the Pelicans, who briefly got as close as 14 in the middle of the second quarter but trailed by 63-46 at the half.
“It’s definitely embarrassing,” Holiday said of the 30-point loss. “You don’t want to do that anywhere but especially at home.”
Magic: Outrebounded New Orleans 58-42. … Had 32 assists on 42 made field goals. … Combined to make 21 of 22 free throws. … Vucevic was 10 of 18 from the field and 4 of 5 on foul shots.
Pelicans: Julius Randle scored 15 points in a little less than 22 minutes off the bench, hitting three of five 3-point attempts. … New Orleans committed 14 turnovers, leading to 22 Orlando points. … Kenrich Williams started and played 31 minutes, but had one of his worst games, scoring just two points on 1-of-7 shooting. … Jahlil Okafor started at center and had eight points in 29 minutes.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was in no mood, however, to discuss how Davis’ decision appears to have affected the team.
“What we’re trying to do is just move on from it,” Gentry said. “We need to bury it.
“Whatever our new normal is, we want to get back to that and put all the other stuff behind us and just start playing and trying to win basketball games, and trying to compete and try to get our young players better,” Gentry continued. “That’s all I want to do. That’s it. And I’m not going to talk about it anymore. I’m done talking about it.”
Magic: Host Charlotte on Thursday night.
Pelicans: Host Oklahoma City on Thursday night.
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