Pelicans righting ship as Zion’s return draws closer
Don’t look now but the New Orleans Pelicans have won three of their last four games to climb to 6-17 overall.
The latest win came late Monday night with a convincing 123-104 win over the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Perhaps we can say that New Orleans has the number of the Clippers, having beaten them twice among the six victories amassed.
Jonas Valanciunas, who has easily been the best player for the Pelicans this season, went off in Los Angeles for a career-high 39 points, including an unconscious 7-of-8 from 3-point range. Valanciunas, who leads the NBA in double-doubles, added 15 rebounds, three assists and two steals and had just one turnover in 32 minutes.
In the process, Valanciunas, who should clearly make the All-Star game, became the first player in Pelicans history to put up 35 or more points, 10 or more rebounds and seven or more 3-pointers in a single game.
Brandon Ingram was outstanding, as he needs to be nightly.
Ingram finished with 27 points with seven rebounds and four assists. It may have been his best game of the season as he looks fully recovered from the hip injury which sidelined him earlier this season.
Rookie Herbert Jones continued to shine, scoring 16 points with four rebounds, two steals with an assist and a block. The 16 points were his second highest scoring output of the season.
Jones is proving to be a little better, if not a lot better offensively than most observers thought he would be.
Adept with either hand around the paint and basket, Jones is getting his offense comfortably, without having to look for it. On the defensive end of the floor, he is the best defender on the team already.
Billy Hernangomez was good again off the bench with nine points and six rebounds in 16 minutes.
The Pelicans shot 51.1 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range and 81.3 percent from the free throw line in a solid offensive effort. The shooting was even better than indicated, when you consider that Josh Hart was just 1-of-9 from the field.
New Orleans also crushed Los Angeles 47-35 on the boards and committed just eight turnovers while forcing 15 by the Clippers.
The Pelicans will host Dallas on Wednesday as the Zion watch continues.
When will he see game action?
The thought process is that it will come by next week, if not earlier.
After hosting Dallas Wednesday, the Pelicans are at Houston Sunday.
Then comes a home game with Denver next Wednesday, a likely target for Williamson to make his season debut if it does not happen sooner.
Dallas is not playing well.
Houston is a bad team.
There is a chance to get something good going in New Orleans with a shooting star to follow by hitting the floor and starting to shoot and return to his star status.
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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…