Say it with me: Brandon Ingram, 2020 NBA All-Star.
In a sometimes enthralling, near-disaster 138-132 Pelicans victory over the streaking Utah Jazz, it was Ingram who made the last play in what is certainly his greatest game as a pro. Slenderman scored a career-high 49 in a good ol’ fashioned shootout with NBA All-Star co-hopeful Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell scored 46 and they went AT IT the last few minutes of a game that New Orleans won twice.
Donovan Mitchell and Brandon Ingram having a very nice "better put me on the damn All-Star team" showdown in New Orleans.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) January 17, 2020
The Pelicans rode the Ingram/Derrick Favors (21 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks) pick-and-roll to win in overtime against a Jazz team that had won 10 in a row and 15 of 16. But really, it should have ended after just 48 minutes.
With the Pelicans up 122-121 with just .2 seconds left, a side out of bounds pass near the hoop somehow resulted in a foul call on Jaxson Hayes, sending Rudy Gobert to the line for potentially game-winning free throws. He only made one, fortunately, and off to overtime we went.
Oh my gosh. New Orleans is going to kill these refs. I’m scared for them. Gobert gets fouled.... with .2 left. pic.twitter.com/UodPb6iZZj— Jake Lee (@jacobrexlee) January 17, 2020
Ingram scored 17 first-half points, most of those coming in a hot stretch in the 2nd quarter; he had 30 at the end of 3 and had 44 at the first final buzzer. Ingram’s penchant for the mid-range is a sight to see - he evokes of an elevating, drifting, extend-o version of Chris Paul there. That shot is his security blanket. He ended the half with two super-aggro drives at the basket with the intention of beheading his defender, by the way, and late in the game was the primary ball-handler in nearly every action.
It was his drive in overtime that garnered the sixth personal foul on Gobert (17 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks) to remove him from the paint.
He seemingly won the game here:
BRANDON. INGRAM. CLUTCH.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 17, 2020
Career-high 44 PTS and the game-winner. Wow. pic.twitter.com/jlDM1KKKyo
Ingram is as dangerous an offensive weapon as there is in the league right now. Tonight he got it done from all over: he had 20 free throw attempts, making his first 11 before some potentially-tragic misses late in the game. 16 makes though, is nice, and both numbers were career highs, as were his 25 shots.
See you in Chicago!
Donovan Mitchell scored 10 points in the first half, finishing with his last field goal at the buzzer on a short-armed, low-release running bank shot to make it 56-49 Pelicans lead.
That was just the start.
The Spida scored 31 in the second half, never backing down from Ingram’s show. He was 16 of 34 from the field and 7 of 15 from 3.
26 Quiet Ones
I’m not gonna rake the guy over the coals for a 35-point scoring onslaught in a Pelicans loss to Utah on Jan. 6! He’s averaging 2.0 assists a game, and has had eight games with zero assists out of 40 played. Heck, he had that by halftime and finished with four of them. This, in combination to his three rebounds, gave him what he didn’t have in his 35-0-0-0 game on Jan. 6. Nice assist!
His 26 points went by quietly as Donovan Mitchell dominated clutch time playmaking responsibilities.
E’Twaun Moore scored 10 points in his first eight minutes and Frank Jackson/NAW saw early minutes; the yougsters would contribute late.
NAW had a slick steal and left-hand dunk finish to end the third quarter. He finished with 12 points (seven in the 4th), three assists and looked capable in crunch time minutes against a big time opponent in a back-and-forth game. It was solid, if not spectacular.
Frank Jackson drew court time with one mission in mind: Stop Donovan Mitchell.
Well, he didn’t get it done, tbh, judging by the massive game put up by Mitchell. But Frank was a team-high plus-23 in nearly 26 minutes of game time. I’m not buying he was THAT good — you never can judge a one-game plus-minus — but I can feel the glowing comments from his coaches and teammates coming. He had 10 points and three rebounds.
Zo Good, Zo Bad
Maybe E’Twaun had good stretches, and Jackson and NAW made plays, but Lonzo Ball was a big contributor, too, finishing with 13 assists. He started the game (Melli also go the nod tonight, btw) and had seven in the blink of an eye. Zo always helps establish some form of pace and ball movement to the offense.
This was one of his easier reads, but gotta love... wait for it...: Lob-siana.
A heads up defensive play from Hart leads to the Zo to BI alley! pic.twitter.com/1zgwzuzjB3— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 17, 2020
Of course, he also missed a ton of shots early and finished just 2 of 12 from the field, 1 of 5 from 3. This is the whole ‘Zo experience crystallized into one game. His floor game is so nice, makes plays on defense, and seems to miss shots by a lot.
C-Ya on Zion Wednesday!