Pelicans blast Bulls with unselfish, balanced effort
The Chicago Bulls were rested, having not played a game since Sunday heading into their game Wednesday night in New Orleans.
The New Orleans Pelicans were being tested, having played a hotly contested game Tuesday night.
Back-to-back games are incredibly difficult, particularly when you are facing an opponent that did not have to deal with that difficulty. The Pels handled the situation well.
Make that impeccably well
The Pelicans routed the Bulls 124-110 in a game that was never close in the second half.
New Orleans shot the ball extremely well from distance again, making 17 triples in back-to-back games for the fourth time in franchise history. The longest such streak, according the Pelicans, happened in three consecutive games back in December of 2019.
The Pelicans were 17 of 33 (51.5%) from 3-point range. You are not going to lose much when you shoot it that well.
As good as New Orleans was from 3-point range, the Pelicans were even better at the free throw line, making 21 of 24 attempts (87.5%) and two of the misses were by the team’s most talented and best player on the floor, Brandon Ingram.
Perhaps even more impressive is the Pelicans did it without much in the way of a scoring contribution from Ingram, who scored 16 points but was just 4 of 15 from the field.
Trey Murphy III was brilliant.
Starting again in place of the injured Zion Williamson, Murphy recorded the first double-double of his career with 19 points and 10 rebounds. It will not be the last one. The 10 boards were a career high. Murphy, who made 5 of 6 from 3-point range, also had three steals in just 24 minutes.
The slump is over for CJ McCollum.
After scoring 30 points with nine rebounds Tuesday night in the win over Memphis, McCollum backed it up with 23 points and eight assists against the Bulls.
Jonas Valanciunas bounced back with a very good game, scoring 22 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, with seven rebounds.
Jose Alvarado is quickly becoming the most valuable point guard off the bench in the NBA.
The sparkplug pumped in 13 points with three rebounds in 21 minutes.
Herb Jones added 10 points.
It was the fifth game this season where all five starters scored 10 points or more for the Pelicans, tied for the most in the NBA in that category. Balance will always get it done for you.
Seven different players made at least one 3-pointer for New Orleans while six of those made two or more. It was a true team effort.
New Orleans shared the ball and displayed outstanding spacing, assisting on 30 of the 43 made field goals in the game.
The Pelicans dominated the boards in the second half and finished with a 46-37 advantage in that department.
The first half was the story of the Pelicans picking up where they left off Tuesday night in the big win over Memphis, sinking a slew of 3-pointers.
New Orleans was 10 of 19 from 3-point range in the half to build a 58-53 lead at the break in a half of runs for both teams.
The Pelicans overcame a 13-0 run by Chicago in the second quarter to recapture the lead after the Pelicans led 32-28 after one quarter.
Murphy was terrific in the half, scoring 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting from the field, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. McCollum had 10 points, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range and Alvarado once again provided a spark, scoring seven points with two rebounds and playing very hard on the defensive end.
The Pelicans had 16 assists on 21 made shots in the half.
New Orleans continued to blister the nets in the third quarter, outscoring Chicago 37-25 to open up a 95-78 lead going to the final quarter.
It was never a contest, from that point forward.
Now 3-1 on the six-game homestand and on a 3-game win streak at 9-6 overall, the home cooking continues as Boston comes to New Orleans Friday night, armed with a terrific team and the best record in the NBA at 12-3. It will be the biggest challenge of the young season for New Orleans.
There is a chance that Williamson will be back. You certainly want all hands on deck, on the hardwood, against the Celtics.
Of course, the Pelicans have played very well in two straight games without him. New Orleans will need to play very well Friday night.
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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…