Graham finds his game as Pelicans take important win over Bulls
It has been a rough stretch for Devonte Graham. Over the last four games, he scored just 31 points.
Graham nearly matched that number on Thursday night alone.
Graham pumped in 30 points, including 8 of 12 from the field and 5 of 7 from 3 point range as the Pelicans pulled away late to defeat the Chicago Bulls 126-109 at Smoothie King Center.
CJ McCollum did what he has been doing, scoring 25 points while Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 19 rebounds.
Jose Alvarado continued his terrific play and energy off the bench, scoring 15 points with seven assists.
With the game on the line, the Pelicans outscored the Bulls 40-24 in the fourth quarter by locking down Chicago on defense and by shooting 61 percent from the field on the other end.
It was particularly gratifying after the Bulls riddled the Pelicans in a 39-point first quarter.
New Orleans turned up the intensity the rest of the way, holding Chicago to just 70 points the rest of the way.
Another huge factor was the terrific free throw shooting of New Orleans as the Pelicans sank 32 of 34 from the line, outscoring the Bulls 32-17 from the charity stripe.
Another lift for the Pelicans was provided by Larry Nance Jr., who debuted in excellent fashion with nine points and four rebounds in 18 minutes. The Pelicans took care of the basketball, committing just 11 turnovers.
The Pelicans withstood a 39-point performance from Zach Lavine to get the win and 51 percent shooting from the field by the Bulls to get the win.
New Orleans outrebounded Chicago 43-33.
With the win, New Orleans moved back into a tie for ninth in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Lakers.
This weekend is a big one for the Pelicans, who host the Spurs, a close pursuer, and the Lakers.
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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…