Pelicans roll to third straight win in 139-111 rout of Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies arrived in New Orleans on a four-game win streak and winners of 11 of their 13 last games.
Make that 11 of 14.
The Pelicans established a new season high for points in a 139-111 victory over Memphis Friday night at Smoothie King Center.
It was a game New Orleans had to have.
The Pelicans entered the game 12th in the Western Conference, five games behind the Grizzlies with San Antonio, Portland and Phoenix sandwiched in between the two teams.
The Pelicans have now beaten the Grizzlies in both meetings with two more remaining this season.
Zion Williamson turned it over on the offensive end the first time he touched it. That was an indication of the shape of things to come.
A couple of minutes later, Williamson dunked on a beautiful reverse move on the way to a career high 24 points with six rebounds and three assists.
The first 20 points scored by the Pelicans were in the paint.
New Orleans went on a 7-0 run to take a 31-20 lead.
New Orleans led 31-22 after one quarter despite seven turnovers. The Pelicans shot 56 percent from the floor in the quarter. New Orleans scored 26 of its 31 points in the paint as the Pelicans took advantage of Memphis playing small most of the quarter.
The Pelicans had another 7-0 run in the second quarter.
Each team had 36 points in the paint. It was a strange half for New Orleans. The Pelicans totally dominated inside, shot 58 percent from the field, owned the boards 27-15 and led by 16 at one point but were only up 66-59.
New Orleans committed 13 turnovers which resulted in 20 points for Memphis.
The Pelicans built a 27-point lead in the third quarter and led 110-86 going to the final quarter. New Orleans outscored Memphis 44-27 in the third quarter and the Pelicans did not commit a turnover in the quarter.
New Orleans is now 14-0 all-time when scoring 110 or more points against Memphis.
It was a total team effort. Virtually everyone who saw the floor for the Pelicans did a good job.
New Orleans had eight players in double figures, including Brandon Ingram with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Lonzo Ball had 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds, Jrue Holiday had 18 points and six assists, JJ Redick had 16 points, Josh Hart had 11 points and 11 rebounds, E’Twaun Moore had 10 points and Nicolo Melli added 10 points.
New Orleans destroyed Memphis 57-34 on the boards and shot 54 percent from the floor, scoring 68 points in the paint. The Pelicans led by as many as 32 points.
Memphis appears to be a good matchup for New Orleans, who can match the guards of the Grizzlies and whose big men are a bit quicker than those of Memphis. That is important heading toward the latter part of the season in the chase for a playoff spot. Holiday is a good defender of Ja Morant.
It was the 500th career win for Alvin Gentry, making him the seventh active NBA head coach with 500 victories.
Good for Alvin, a good guy who gets too much criticism when his team loses and no credit when it wins.
Now 20-29, The Pelicans have won three straight and will play at Houston Sunday. Things are looking up but New Orleans will now step up in class with Milwaukee to follow Houston. It will be fun to see if this young, talented, improving New Orleans squad is ready to step up in class and accept the challenge.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and 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,…