The New Orleans Pelicans walked into TD Garden missing too many of their key guys — Jrue Holiday, Derrick Favors, JJ Redick, Zion Williamson — and proceeded to get dusted by the Boston Celtics to the tune of a 140-105 final score.
Believe it or not, we had a great game going through the first seven minutes. The Pelicans trailed by just a bucket at 20-18 and Jaxson Hayes was punishing Boston down low. Then, at the drop of a hat, the offense and defense simultaneously combusted and the Celtics outscored the Pels 21-6 to close out the first quarter. Trailing 41-24, Boston stood tall with a 57.1 field goal percentage. The Pels, a paltry 34.6 FG%.
That trend developed into the major theme on the night. Boston encountered zero resistance scoring the basketball from start to finish, as the Pelicans defense broke down time and again, while New Orleans struggled all too often for every point.
New Orleans did manage to hold serve in the second quarter, winning the frame 33-31 as Frank Jackson caught fire from behind the arc and knocked down four threes, but that was the last blip on the radar before garbage time hit in the fourth quarter.
At halftime, the Celtics led 72-57. They had dominated all of the shooting stats, largely played mistake-free ball, and sported a 38-18 points in the paint advantage. (At game’s end, that disparity grew to 74-42.)
Hey, Boston’s one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference so no one should have been shocked the Pelicans B/C team got smashed into smithereens. The biggest disappointment in my eyes though was that New Orleans failed to match Boston’s energy consistently and made too many silly errors when the game was still in reach.
With 1:04 remaining in the third, Jayson Tatum was already sitting pretty with a new career-high of 41 points. By the time the quarter had ended, the Pelicans trailed by 32 points and were probably most looking forward to making dinner plans. Look, coming on the second night of a back-to-back and missing so many important pieces is going to eliminate nearly all realistic hope of winning a game against a playoff contender on their home floor, but that doesn’t dismiss the fact that New Orleans should have shown greater focus.
The Boston Celtics are playing great basketball but there's also a distinct lack of focus on both ends tonight.— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) January 12, 2020
How does Brandon Ingram not account for Hayward? You see E'Twaun calling him out... pic.twitter.com/Wvo300C9kR
Sigh, let’s just erase this one from the memory banks.
Frank Jackson finished with 22 points, three off his career-high, but he did require 18 shot attempts to hit that point total. Jaxson Hayes scored 20 points in a starting role, but totaled only two rebounds in 26 minutes. Although Lonzo Ball nearly posted a triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, he and Brandon Ingram were the main decision-making offenders through the first three quarters, combining for an ugly nine turnovers.
As mentioned, Jayson Tatum lit up the Pelicans for 41 points (**note: he did not play in the 4th quarter), but Gordon Hayward (19 points), Kemba Walker (17 points) and Enes Kanter (22 points) all enjoyed really efficient nights for the Celtics too.
Up next, the Pelicans have a travel day on Sunday as they fly to Detroit to face the Pistons the following night. Hopefully, the coaching staff gets a few of the walking wounded back as that matchup poses a very winnable contest.