Pelicans punish Wizards in best performance of the season, 127-102
The Pelicans played great in the first half and led by 19 points at Washington on November 15.
New Orleans lost that game 105-100, a disappointing loss, one that got away.
Wednesday night at Smoothie King Center, the Pelicans led the Wizards by 22 points at the half en route to a 127-102 victory.
It was the best half of basketball of the season by New Orleans.
The 72 points were the most in a half this season for the Pelicans.
The team played with great effort on both ends of the floor and good defense created good offense.
On the offensive end of the floor, New Orleans shared the ball better than it has all season long and it wasn’t close, in that department.
The concern was the very real possibility of an instant replay for a team that has failed and failed miserably in the second half this season.
That did not happen Wednesday night.
This time around, the 22-point halftime lead remained 22 points after three quarters and it was game over.
New Orleans sustained its level of excellent play over the course of the entire game and it was a sight for sore eyes, a very rare sight, indeed, in this sad season, to date.
Brandon Ingram, who was coming off his worst game of the season and had not played well over several games, played well on this night, scoring 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting form the field and he committed no turnovers. Ingram added five rebounds and three assists. The ball and the offense did not stop with him. On many occasions, it was catch-and-shoot opportunities. Ingram got to his sweet spot with regularity and the timing of getting the ball to him in those spots were on point.
While Ingram was a revived player, Jonas Valanciunas was his usual outstanding self, posting 21 points and 11 rebounds with four assists.
Josh Hart had 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Devonte Graham returned after being out and scored 12 points.
The bench was productive.
Once again, Willy Hernangomez played well, scoring 13 points and pulling down seven rebounds. Hernangomez also had four assists, three steals and two blocks in just 22 minutes as he has clearly earned the reserve center spot behind Valanciunas, sending Jaxson Hayes to the bench.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 12 points off the bench.
The best illustration of how New Orleans shared the ball was that 33 of the 44 made field goal attempts were assisted.
When the ball keeps moving, you are harder to defend.
The Pelicans won the boards by a 52-45 margin and limited their turnovers to 10.
When you play solid defense, when you share the ball on offense, when you rebound and when you limit turnovers, you are going to win.
The Pelicans accomplished all four goals and won Wednesday night in their best performance of the season to get to 4-16 overall.
Next up is a tough back-to-back matchup against long-time nemesis Utah in Salt Lake City on Friday and Saturday.
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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…