Pelicans let one slip away in OT loss to Pacers
When you have a 10-point lead with 3:21 to play in the game at home, you are supposed to win.
When you have a 6-point lead with 23.7 seconds to play in the game at home, you are supposed to win.
Suppositions went out the window and out of Smoothie King Center Monday night.
Malcolm Brodgon scored on a driving floater in the lane with 1.7 seconds left to lift visiting Indiana to a 118-116 overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
It was a bad, brutal loss for New Orleans, a game the Pelicans blew.
After Victor Oladipo made a 3-pointer with 20.9 seconds left, Stan Van Gundy could have called timeout to advance the ball. He did not.
Lonzo Ball turned the ball over in the backcourt, a critical mistake, and Myles Turner nailed an open 3-pointer from the top of the key to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Van Gundy, curiously, decided to have Zion Williamson sitting on the bench until there was just 1:06 to play.
At that point, New Orleans trailed 116-112.
Williamson immediately drove and scored to cut the deficit to 116-114. Williamson then assisted on a dunk by Ball to tie the game 116-116 with 25.5 seconds left.
That set the stage for Brogdon’s heroics.
While Williamson can struggle on the defensive end, he is, along with Brandon Ingram, your franchise player.
Williamson finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds—and he was on the bench for most of the overtime period.
While he was at the scorer’s table waiting to check in for at least a minute, why did he not start overtime? Why when things were not going well did not you not call timeout and get him in?
Williamson was nearly solely responsible for fouling out Donatas Sabonis and Myles Turner.
It was hard to understand.
Then again, the outcome, given the circumstances, was hard to understand.
New Orleans (4-3) committed 18 turnovers, resulting in 22 points for Indiana. The two primary ball handlers, Ball and Eric Bledsoe, each had four turnovers.
The Pacers (5-2) crushed the Pelicans from 3-point range, outscoring New Orleans 57-27.
Therein was the difference in the game.
As perhaps the best rebounding team in the league, New Orleans drilled Indiana 57-42 on the glass and that included 16 offensive boards.
The struggles for JJ Redick continue.
Fortunately, Redick was a factor on the defensive end, drawing three offensive fouls.
On the offensive end, Redick is a mess.
Redick was an abysmal 1-for-9 from the field, including 1-for-6 from 3-point range for three points.
Since going 8-for-14 from the field, including 6-for-11 from 3-point range for 23 points in the season opening win over Toronto, Redick has been a huge liability, going just 6-for-37 from the field (16%), including 3-for-26 from 3-point range (11%), which is his specialty and his value to the team.
Brandon Ingram was called upon to take over in the fourth quarter and he did his part but while Ingram scored 31 points, it took him 31 shots to do so, making just 12. Ingram added eight assists and four rebounds.
Steven Adams hustled like crazy and had 10 points and eight rebounds, though he also committed four turnovers.
Bledsoe finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists with the four turnovers.
Ball had 18 points, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range and had six rebounds and six assists with the four turnovers.
Jaxson Hayes was good for the second straight game off the bench with nine points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.
While the Pelicans were clutch in the final minutes in a win over Toronto last Saturday, they failed to come through in another close game on this night.
This was the first game this year where you had to ask yourself if the coach put his team in the best position to win? His decisions in this game certainly can be questioned.
Van Gundy said afterwards that his team has to be better with the ball and take better care of the ball.
To his credit, Van Gundy took the blame for not taking timeout toward the end of regulation, saying he made a lot of bad decisions, saying his team didn’t get the shots he wanted down the stretch and said that was his fault.
Van Gundy said he thought Williamson was gassed at the end of regulation but that he should have been in earlier in overtime and took the blame for that as well.
Kudos to SVG for being a stand-up guy. Just don’t do it again.
Now, get your team to stand up and grow up when things get tough.
New Orleans will host the Thunder on Wednesday night. The Pelicans won at Oklahoma City 113-80 on New Year’s Eve.
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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…