Pelicans post best win of season, 113-102, over Memphis

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It was impressive. All things considered, it was the best performance of the young season by the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Pelicans were without Zion Williamson, who sat out with a right foot contusion. Williamson is listed as day-to-day.

On this night, New Orleans desperately needed others to step up and fill the void.

They got it in a very impressive 113-102 victory over a talented Memphis squad.

Exhibit A was CJ McCollum.

The veteran entered Tuesday night’s game in a slump, at under 40 percent from the field on the season.

In his last four games entering the meeting with Memphis, McCollum had averaged under 10 points per game while shooting 27 percent from the field and under 17 percent from 3-point range.

The slump may be over.

Without Zion, McCollum was a lion, stepping up with a season high 30 points and nine assists.

McCollum sank 7 of 13 from 3-point range to lead an outstanding shooting night from distance for the home team.

For three quarters, the game swung back and forth wildly, the pendulum swinging to both sides with regularity.

Then came the fourth quarter.

Then came defense.

Then came great hustle.

Then came clutch baskets.

The combination of those three entities was superb.

How efficient were the Pelicans in the final quarter?

New Orleans had seven assists and committed no turnovers in the quarter while holding the Grizzlies to just 15 points.

The bench came up big for the Pelicans.

Exhibit B was Larry Nance Jr.

Called upon early and often, Nance was terrific, pumping in 19 points with seven rebounds and two blocks. He got the lion’s share of the minutes at the center spot as Jonas Valanciunas struggled through 14 minutes with just two points and three rebounds.

Jose Alvarado was brilliant again, scoring 12 points with six assists and three rebounds.

While Dyson Daniels scored just three points on 1 of 5 shooting from the field, he was a key element in the win, defending extremely well and rebounding extremely well. Daniels had nine boards in 17 minutes.

Memphis outscored New Orleans 17-9 from the free throw line and won the battle of the boards 51-43 but the Pelicans won the game beyond the arc, making 18 shots from 3-point range where they outscored the Grizzlies 51-27.

The 18 makes from 3-point range are a season high for the Pelicans, who entered the game with the fewest 3-point attempts of any team in the NBA.

The Pelicans shared the ball well, assisting on 31 of the 43 made field goals.

Brandon Ingram scored 19 points and Trey Murphy III, getting the start for Williamson, scored 13 points on a few dunks and a trio of 3-pointers.

Ja Morant scored 36 points but was held to five points on 2 of 9 shooting in the fourth quarter.

Now 8-6, the Pelicans return to action Wednesday night at home against the Bulls, whom they defeated 115-111 in Chicago last week.

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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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