What began as a shaky start ended in a sweet victory for the New Orleans Pelicans as they hit the road to play the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday evening. After what was a close game for 3 quarters, the fourth was all New Orleans as they picked their heads up and took home the win, increasing their record to 12-15 overall.
At first, New Orleans did not start on the right foot. The team did not connect well and missed multiple free throws and simple layups from close up near the basket. Nearing the end of the first, the Grizzlies were feeling pretty good about their play, at certain times gaining leads as large as 10 or 11 points. By the end, Grizzlies were up 32-29.
At the latter end of the first half, New Orleans began to focus a little more, taking their time. Despite still being behind on the scoreboard, they were now posting more points than not. The tables turned as the Grizzlies were now the ones struggling to put up points, and the gap they once had started narrowing on them. By the end of the half, New Orleans had a comeback and overtook Memphis at 63-58.
From that point on, it was all New Orleans. Not once in the third quarter did they give up the lead, and with just seconds left, they reached over 100 points, leaving the Grizzlies scrambling, down by over 20 points. Now playing more like a team, New Orleans had a bit of weight off their shoulders with a significant point difference before heading into the final quarter of play.
In the final 12 minutes as New Orleans dominated their opponent’s on their home court. While New Orleans made their way to victory, the Grizzlies did not reach the 100 point mark until there were less than 7 minutes of the game left; they were far too behind to close the gap and losing hope for any sort of comeback. When the buzzer went off, New Orleans came off the court with their heads held high; meanwhile, the Grizzlies were disappointed in their own performance as they once again have a losing record; 11-12 overall.
Zion Williamson was on fire, along with teammates Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram for New Orleans. Williamson was unstoppable, leading the group with 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. He also completed over 81% of field goals and never missed a three-point shot, making 100% of the ones attempted. Hart and Ingram were not far off him. Josh came off the bench and played the most minutes at 32 and earned a season-high in points with 27. Hart also managed 9 rebounds and 2 assists. Ingram also contributed a lot with 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists. These 3 powerhouse players were unmatchable the whole time; no one could tie them down or stop them.
Head coach for New Orleans, Stan Van Gundy, also commented on how proud he was of Williamson, stating, “He’s just tough. There’s only so much you can do…” Stan also mentioned he thinks the team has improved and will continue to in the coming games after seeing growth in all of the players.
On the other hand, Memphis’s head coach, Taylor Jenkins, has not been too impressed with how the Grizzlies have been playing lately. Jenkins claimed after the game that “They’ve played well, and we haven’t.”
Both teams have a losing record and look to improve it by the end of the season.
New Orleans plays back-to-back games and takes on the Portland Trail Blazers (17-10) at home on Wednesday, February 17th. Tipoff is at 9:00 ET and can be seen on NBA League Pass, FOX Sports South, and NBC Sports Northwest.
The Grizzlies remain at home playing back-to-back games. They will face Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, February 17th, at 9:00 ET. It is not clear what channels will be broadcasting this match.