The New Orleans Pelicans are entering 2021 with a 3-2 overall record.
Despite forward Brandon Ingram’s ejection and Zion Williamson in foul trouble, the Pelicans bounced back from their 25-point loss to Phoenix with a 33-point win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 31.
New Orleans defeated the Thunder 113-80 in their New Year’s Eve matchup.
How It Happened:
It was a back-and-forth first quarter with each team exchanging field goals. The Pelicans led the Thunder 32-28 after the first.
New Orleans guard Josh Hart made 1-of-2 free throws with .6 seconds left in the opening quarter to give the Pelicans a four-point lead entering the second.
The Pelicans increased their lead in the second quarter by outscoring Oklahoma City 26-19. New Orleans ended the quarter with a 7-0 run. Ingram made a layup and a midrange shot followed by a 3-pointer from Hart.
New Orleans led Oklahoma City 58-47 at halftime.
Williamson picked up his fourth foul of the game with 7:25 remaining in the third quarter. Then, Ingram was ejected for a type 2 flagrant foul with three minutes left.
The Pelicans led 77-67 at the time of Ingram’s ejection. New Orleans would lead 85-73 entering the fourth.
New Orleans cruised to the victory in the final quarter. They outscored the Thunder 28-7 to earn the 33-point win.
Ingram led the Pelicans in scoring with 20 points. All starters scored in double digits with guard Eric Bledsoe recording 17 points and Lonzo Ball recording 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Williamson only played 17 minutes but scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Hart had a double-double off the bench for the Pelicans with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Nickel Alexander-Walker was another bright spot for the Pelicans bench with 14 points in 19 minutes.
Big Number: 80
The focus was on the offensive performances for the Pelicans but New Orleans held another opponent under 100 points. The Thunder only managed 80 points. This is the third time in five games New Orleans held an opponent under 100 points in a game. The Pelicans are 3-0 in those games.
Player of the Game: Lonzo Ball
This could have gone to Brandon Ingram for his play before the ejection. Ingram hit tough shots and remained efficient on offense, but Ball had an all-around game on both sides of the ball in his 32 minutes played. Ball almost recorded a triple-double and stayed active on defense, as well.
Up Next: At home against the Toronto Raptors, Saturday Jan. 2; Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.