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Pelicans’ regulars outclassed by Pacers in 111-94 loss

This one was over before the end of the third quarter.

New Orleans Pelicans v Indiana Pacers Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Not even the magical powers of Antonio Daniels’ lucky turtleneck had a chance of making a positive dent.

The New Orleans Pelicans were thoroughly outplayed on Saturday evening, losing 111-94 to the Indiana Pacers.

The execution by the regulars was simply horrendous. Their effort was miserable. It was easily the worst display of winning basketball by the group on the season.

The onslaught began in the first quarter. The Pacers jumped out to a 23-6 lead and never looked back. They moved the ball well, hit their fair share of outside jumpers and didn’t give the Pelicans an inch. They weren’t noticeably special, just solid.

But New Orleans had no answer, and admittedly, it felt like they didn’t try hard enough to find one. By the end of the third quarter, the deficit had grown to 32 points at 96-64.

Symbolic of the night, there was a play with less than a minute left in the frame that underscored New Orleans’ sleepwalking. A Nickeil Alexander-Walker pass failed to connect with Trey Murphy III on the perimeter. What should have been a simple throw and catch was intercepted by Chris Duarte.

That wasn’t the worst part though.

Duarte missed his layup in transition against the two Pelicans, but the Pacers wound up maintaining possession. NAW and Trey failed to put themselves into solid position to grab the board.

This was a game that teams must find a way to flush out of their system immediately, promising that it won’t happen again. Outside of Jonas Valanciunas, who had another double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds, no other Pelican left a footprint before the white flag was waved.

Tomas Satoransky, the starting point guard in place of Devonte’ Graham, finished without a single assist. But he did tally a couple of turnovers in 21 minutes.

Josh Hart, the 6’5 rebounding machine, had two boards in 24 minutes.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker had six points, four assists and four turnovers in 26 minutes.

After starting 0-5 from the field, Brandon Ingram finished with 12 points on 14 shot attempts.

Jaxson Hayes, as he has on multiple occasions so far in this 2021-22 campaign, resembled the lost player that we saw in his rookie season. Garrett Temple made no impact. Yada. Yada.

Willie Green rolled with the end of the bench to start the fourth quarter, and hat’s off to those guys. They competed. Naji Marshall had 14 points, six rebounds and three assists — he went 8-8 from the free throw line in just a quarter’s time!

Kira Lewis Jr. finished with 12 points and three rebounds. Trey Murphy III had eight points, six rebounds and two steals. Willy Hernangomez had six points and five rebounds.

Domantas Sabonis paced Indiana with 20 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals. Justin Holiday scored 17 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 16.

That’s it. No more words are needed for this debacle. The Pelicans will return to the court on Monday when they welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves. Hope tonight proves to be an aberration, at least in the effort and focus departments.

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.