Ingram, Williamson come alive late as Pelicans overcome Bulls
It was one of those games Wednesday night in Chicago. You knew the outcome would be in doubt until the end.
In a game which saw 13 lead changes and 17 ties, the New Orleans Pelicans had two of their stars, quiet most of the night, make a bunch of noise in the fourth quarter to pull out a 115-111 road victory.
However, Herb Jones made three free throws in the final 13 seconds to help fend off the Bulls.
After seeing Zion Williamson doubled all night and seeing Brandon Ingram denied while clogging the lane, the Bulls could not keep the two stars down when it mattered most.
Williamson scored 11 points in the fourth quarter while Ingram simply took over the game, pumping in 16 points in the final frame. It was the most points in a quarter in eight months for Ingram.
That came after Williamson had just eight points while Ingram had only six points in the first three quarters.
The Pelicans made adjustments. Williamson and Ingram got hot. The Bulls had no answer.
As was the case at Indiana, the Pelicans got off to a slow start at Chicago Wednesday night.
Enter Jose Alvarado.
The sparkplug guard came off the bench to score seven points and dished out two assists in just six minutes in the first quarter to rally New Orleans to a 22-22 tie by the end of the period.
With Larry Nance Jr. out, Willy Hernangomez got the opportunity in reserve at center.
New Orleans trailed by as many as 11 points but closed the first half on a 24-11 run to take a 52-50 lead at the break.
The story was the reserves as the New Orleans bench picked up the slack, scoring 25 points. That made up for the little production from the Big three.
Ingram, Williamson and CJ McCollum combined to score just eight points in the half.
McCollum, who has struggled to shoot the ball much of the young season, went scoreless, going 0 for 7 from the field, including 0 for 4 from 3-point range.
Williamson took just two shots and scored just four points and he really struggled on the defensive end of the floor.
Ingram scored just four points but he had seven rebounds and three assists.
New Orleans was just 2 for 14 from 3-point range in the half but outrebounded Chicago 26-16.
Ingram picked up his fourth foul with 9:12 to play in the third quarter with New Orleans up 62-58 and he had to sit.
Undaunted, Jonas Valanciunas went to work as the Pelicans went on an 11-0 run to take a 69-58 lead with 7:20 to play in the third quarter.
McCollum did not make a field goal until midway through the third quarter.
The momentum died quickly.
Chicago dominated the rest of the quarter, outscoring New Orleans 24-10 the rest of the way to take an 82-79 lead going to the final quarter.
Ingram re-entered the game to start the fourth quarter.
The Bulls got into deep foul trouble early in the fourth quarter, picking up their fifth team foul with 9:37 to play in the game, putting New Orleans at the line the rest of the way.
Ingram took over with the game on the line, scoring seven straight points to give New Orleans a 100-97 lead with 4:19 to play in the game.
It was back-and-forth from there.
Demar DeRozan dunked to tie the game 109-109 with 56 seconds to play in the game.
Ingram then put New Orleans ahead to stay on a 19-footer at 111-109 with 39.7 seconds left.
After the Pels managed another stop, Williamson was fouled and made one of two free throws to make it 112-109 with 19.4 seconds left.
DeRozan then committed a turnover, the Bulls fouled Jones, and he made both free throws with 13.4 seconds left to make it 114-109.
Goran Dragic made a layup to close to 114-111 but Jones secured the win, making a free throw with 4.2 seconds remaining.
The Pelicans have a pair of closers in Ingram and Williamson. They closed this one out with help from Jones, always an unsung heroes.
Jones had 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Valanciunas was excellent with 21 points, 13 rebounds and three assists.
New Orleans won despite making just 3 of 19 from 3-point range. The Pelicans dominated the boards by a 50-35 margin.
The concern has to be McCollum.
His shooting woes continued as he scored just seven points on 3 of 13 shooting from the field, including missing all five of his 3-point attempts. The Pelicans need more from the veteran.
DeRozan finished with a game-high 33 points for Chicago.
It has been a tough stretch for the Pelicans, playing eight of their first 11 games on the road.
Now comes a huge 6-game homestand, beginning Thursday night against a surprisingly good Portland team in a difficult back-to-back. The Blazers are 8-3 on the season after winning 105-95 at Charlotte tonight so it is a level playing field with both teams traveling and playing back-to-back.
Perhaps the sight and presence of his former team will inspire McCollum and get him going. The Pelicans need that. McCollum has scored just 16 points in his last two games on 6 of 24 shooting, 2 of 10 from 3-point range.
New Orleans is now 5-0 when leading at halftime. That is a good trend, and this was a good win.
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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…