Griffin takes stand before Pelicans come up just short at Sixers

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The game was a virtual afterthought.

The Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia 76ers held off the undermanned New Orleans Pelicans 109-107 Friday night.

It was a spirited, determined, outstanding effort by a New Orleans team without Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Steven Adams and Josh Hart.

The inability to score in the fourth quarter doomed the Pelicans, who scored just 16 points in the final frame and somehow failed to get a shot off on their final two possessions, down by two points.

Jaxson Hayes had perhaps his best game of the season, if not in his young career, with 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe each scored 18 points but combined to shoot 5-of-20 from three-point range.

New Orleans was lousy, just 9-of-36 from three-point range.

Kira Lewis Jr. was good with 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Joel Embiid had 37 points and 13 rebounds, a virtual one-man gang.

The result is that the Pelicans are now 2 ½ games behind the Spurs with five games to play after San Antonio downed the Kings 113-104.

New Orleans has four games left on its current road trip which continues in Charlotte Sunday.

While the game mattered, the story of the day was David Griffin blasting NBA officiating for how they officiate Williamson, who is now out indefinitely with a broken finger.

Griffin’s tirade was bold and it was welcome.

Some might say it was grandstanding but his comments were grand and they stand on their merit.

Williamson has drawn many comparisons to Shaquille O’Neal and how he absorbs contact while bulling his way to the basket.

O’Neal was hacked regularly with some calls resulting and many others which did not occur.

Williamson is incurring much of the same treatment in his young career.

Some will chalk it up to him being a rookie and having to earn respect to get calls.

This just in—a foul is a foul, regardless of who commits the foul and who is fouled.

Memo to officials—make the call.

Griffin made the call to call out the league Friday.

In the process, he showed that he had the back of his your star and of his coach and team.

The team then went out and played hard Friday night.

The two are clearly tied.

Pelicans players clearly appreciated what Griffin had to say.

The league does not appreciate it and Griffin and the Pelicans are certain to incur hefty fines.

While the fines will come, I am fine with what Griffin had to say.

When it comes to analysis, Griffin is no hack in stating that his star is being hacked frequently. He has Zion’s back.

While the Pelicans came up short Friday night and are almost assured of coming up short of the postseason, the comments by Griffin will go a long way toward building unity and hopefully, sometime soon, a winner in New Orleans.

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Ken Trahan

CEO/Owner

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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