For the third night in a row, the Pelicans found themselves on the losing end as New Orleans dropped a shootout to the Atlanta Hawks 130-120 Tuesday night in the Smoothie King Center.
Save for the opening few minutes of the first quarter and a modest 4th quarter effort, the game was all Atlanta. The Pelicans led by as many as nine points in the first quarter before the Hawks blitzed New Orleans to the tune of 42 points in the frame and then led the rest of the way till the final buzzer sounded.
The Pelicans announced Tuesday morning that Jrue Holiday underwent surgery to repair a core muscle injury, and prior to tip-off it was announced that Anthony Davis would be held out of the game due to lower back spasms. Add in the fact that Frank Jackson left the game with a concussion and an already shorthanded Pelicans squad left tonight’s game with fewer healthy bodies than what they started with. I know, can you believe that the Pelicans of all teams are injury riddled? I am shocked I tell you, shocked.
On the floor, the star of tonight’s loss was newly added Christian Wood, who had the game of his young professional career. Wood set career highs in points, 23, rebounds, nine, blocks, six, and steals, three. Wood also showed some serious fearlessness getting to the free throw line 14 times.
“He’s a talented guy and we think he’s talented,” said Alvin Gentry in postgame. “You can see some of the things that he can do. He’s not the – he has no idea what we’re doing, just to be brutally honest. He has the talent that he can create things and do things. Six blocked shots, I mean that’s pretty good on any level.”
Julius Randle had another good stats in a loss outing with a team-high 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists. And before Jackson had to leave the game, he recorded 20 points, his fourth 20-point game of the season.
For Atlanta, Trae Young had another explosive night, scoring 33 points on 12-24 shooting. Young also hit five threes and handed out 12 assists. John Collins, Atlanta’s other core piece, had a potentially big night be derailed by fouls. Collins posted 12 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes, but also picked up six fouls in that short span of time.
For the Pelicans, I suppose tonight should technically be considered progress. After losing to the Magic and Rockets by 23, New Orleans only lost by ten. Losing is winning, and as long as you don’t lose in hilariously lopsided fashion that’s all anybody could ask for with six games remaining. The Pelicans get Wednesday night off before playing the Sacramento Kings in game three of this five game home stand.