Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 133, New Orleans Pelicans 127

Melvin Frazier continued his strong play with the opportunity ahead of him, helping Orlando Magic close out the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
Melvin Frazier continued his strong play with the opportunity ahead of him, helping Orlando Magic close out the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic finished off their regular season with a strong win and effort to get themselves ready for a difficult playoff series ahead.

127. 69. 133. 38. Final

Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford declared before the game he was treating the team’s seeding round finale like a preseason game. So the least important thing on the night was the final score.

What was more important was to see the team play with confidence and aggression. Sure, the team may not be digging in its heels defensively, but there was still a lot to get out of the game.

Consider that part mission accomplished in a 133-127 win to close out the seeding round.

Orlando came out firing, hitting a team-record-tying 13 3-pointers in the first quarter. The team took it straight at the New Orleans Pelicans’ defense, driving into the lane and kicking out to 3-pointers with ease.

Nikola Vucevic walked into jumpers and drained them, going after the soft New Orleans defense. He had 13 points in the first quarter alone and missed only one shot. Nikola Vucevic just got whatever he wanted, displaying a solid array of post and dribble moves.

Markelle Fultz returned to the starting lineup and made an immediate impact too. He had the Magic playing at a faster pace and quickly zipped the ball in and out of the lane, finishing when he could.

The Magic’s starters left the game with a comfortable 21-point lead. No one would confuse this game as the team being playoff-ready. The Pelicans were also throwing out a depleted roster.

But after a week of struggle and frustration, it was a step in the right direction. The Magic moved the ball and found open players. They scored efficiently and they dictated the pace of play. They could feel some joy and comfort in the game.

It might be their last time before the daunting task of taking on the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs. But the Magic could breathe easy, even if the bench players once again struggled to hold onto the lead with this depleted roster.

Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC. A. Nikola Vucevic came out fairly slow in the <a href=. C

B+. <a href=. PG. Orlando Magic. MARKELLE FULTZ

A-. <a href=. PG. Orlando Magic. D.J. AUGUSTIN

G/F. Orlando Magic. MELVIN FRAZIER. A. <a href=

30-42. 13th West. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS. B-. The New Orleans Pelicans had nothing to play for. Their top players all sat out. This was a game that had no meaning, except for tape for deep bench guys. Those players deserve an A for the effort they put in<p>Frank Jackson scored 31 points and five assists. Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 29. The Pelicans made 55.2-percent of their shots. They were willing and able to attack the basket. The Orlando Magic’s defense was not giving much resistance.</p><p>New Orleans had most of its success however once Orlando played its deep bench lineup. The Magic finished the game without a natural center and without a natural point guard. So it was a good effort from the Pelicans and they fought to the end. But they could not do much against the Magic’s starters.</p>

Next. How to watch the Orlando Magic in the playoffs. dark

The Orlando Magic finish the regular season and seeding round at 33-40. They will open up their Playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.