The New Orleans Pelicans appeared to be well on their way to notching a second win in as many games, leading the Washington Wizards 58-41 at halftime. But the offense completely dried up, with the Pels scoring only 42 points over the final 24 minutes. Meanwhile, the Wiz tallied 64. End result: a very disappointing 105-100 loss.
There were a number of decent looks that didn’t go down, but there wasn’t a good flow to the offense for much of the second half. Things really got crickety once Brandon Ingram checked back in with 9:17 left in the fourth quarter and the Pelicans clinging to an 83-77 lead. Too much iso-ball possessions. Barely any instances of Willie Green’s preferred .5 attack.
“The ball definitely stuck more in the 2nd half,” Green said. “I believe we had 12 assists in the first half, eight in the second. That’s not who we want to be.”
As Green also noted to postgame media, the Wizards are first in the league defending against set offenses. New Orleans isn’t good enough to get by with not executing to their fullest potential for the entirety of a game. And that logic should apply to Ingram as well, who knows that if his jumper isn’t falling, he should look to get others involved in more instances.
The Pelicans lost a very winnable game and that’s a real shame because the start, particularly the second quarter, went so well.
An Ingram midrange jumper got the scoring going in tonight’s action and he didn’t let up early, scoring nine of the team’s first 14 points.
Being guarded by former teammate Kyle Kuzma probably had a little to do with it. Remember when BI scored 36 points on fantastic efficiency against Kuz in their previous matchup? Unfortunately, Kuzma got the last laugh tonight, hitting a couple of big threes during that crushing fourth quarter.
Ingram finished with 31 points, five rebounds and four assists, but he made only 4 of 13 shots after halftime. To be fair, he was 1 of 10 when New Orleans still had a realistic chance for victory. His final three attempts, which all went down, came after the outcome of the game was seemingly decided.
Jonas Valanciunas finished one rebound shy of a double-double (16 points, nine rebounds) for a second straight game. Devonte’ Graham had 14 points, and Josh Hart did earn a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker suffered his lowest point total of the season (four points), making just 1 of 6 shot attempts.
Garrett Temple led the bench unit with eight points, including a couple of 3s, and Jaxson Hayes added seven points and six rebounds.
Herbert Jones battled foul trouble all night (five fouls in 19 minutes), curtailing his effectiveness immensely.
Spencer Dinwiddie led the the Wizards with 27 points, adding nine assists, five rebounds and four threes to his stellar line. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 18 and Montrezl Harrell, 15, off Washington’s bench.
Up next, the Pelicans will practice tomorrow before facing the Heat on Wednesday in Miami. The Heat are off an 8-5 start, so it’ll take a great effort by New Orleans just to put themselves in position to steal a victory.