Celtics rally past Pelicans in MLK matinee
The New Orleans Pelicans started fast but fizzled in the second half in a 104-92 loss at Boston Monday.
New Orleans built an 18-point lead in the first half and missed several shots which would have sustained or even grown the lead as the Celtics chipped away at the deficit.
The Pelicans led 42-24 and carried a 46-39 lead into halftime.
Boston outscored New Orleans 64-46 in the second half. The Pelicans were stagnant offensively, without much movement and not sharing the ball after the fast start and scored just 63 points in the final three quarters.
Tatum scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half.
The Celtics limited Brandon Ingram to just 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting from the floor. Ingram did have 10 rebounds.
Jonas Valanciunas was outstanding with 22 points and 14 rebounds. It was the 30th double-double of the season for Valanciunas, who has easily been the most consistent player for Willie Green’s Pelicans. Herb Jones was solid, as always, with 16 points.
The team continues to compete well and play hard for Green but the shortcomings were on full display, obvious Monday.
If Ingram does not play like and score like a star, it will be difficult for the Pelicans to beat any good or even average team.
The lack of consistent 3-point threats on the roster is tough to overcome against good teams. New Orleans was just 9-of-30 from 3-point range. On the season, the Pelicans are 24th in the league in 3-point percentage at 33.7 percent. For that matter, the Pelicans are 26th in overall field goal percentage.
Additionally, the Pelicans hurt themselves by missing seven of 18 free throw attempts. Boston won the battle of the boards 47-41.
The lack of depth is a major problem.
Only Nickeil-Alexander Walker has been a consistent producer off the bench.
Garrett Temple has not scored in double figures in his last eight games.
Temple has just six points combined in his last three games despite averaging over 17 minutes per game. Temple has made just 12-of-42 (28.5%) field goal attempts in his those eight games.
While Trey Murphy III has struggled, perhaps it is time to start seeing him get minutes instead of Temple.
In his last six games, Devonte Graham is just 22-of-72 (30.5%) from the field. Perhaps the Pelicans will consider going back to Alexander-Walker as a starter at guard.
Jaxson Hayes and Willy Hernangomez, when he plays, have been productive at times but not consistently enough.
Kira Lewis Jr. is done for the year.
Good teams find a way to play competitive on the road.
The Pelicans are 6-17 away from home and that will not get it done.
The road trip concludes at New York Thursday against the Knicks.
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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…