Well, how about THAT, Pelicans fans?!
Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/ob0MPrO4Zs— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) December 16, 2021
The Pelicans are flying free as a bird after a magical, impossible victory thanks to one of the greatest shots in franchise history. They beat the OKC Thunder on Wednesday night 113-110 as Devonte’ Graham delivered his second game-winner of the year. It was real and it was spectacular.
Coming just a moment after an almost-as-unlikely shot by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Graham secured an all-time basketball memory in the great state of Oklahoma, the BEST game-winner by the Pels in that building.
And one more from @ESPNStatsInfo: This is the first game over the last 25 seasons to feature multiple game-tying or go-ahead shots from 30+ feet inside the 5 seconds of a game. https://t.co/21uVKpQ3Z0— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) December 16, 2021
Now, new obstacles lay ahead.
Friday night (probably), the Pels meet the NBA World Champion Milwaukee Bucks. Or will they? COVID-19 and its variants have infiltrated the country and the NBA.
The Chicago Bulls had two weekday games canceled, others like the Lakers, Hornets, Nets, and Kings are getting hit from all COVID angles. Bunches of players are being held out of future games. The NBA and players association have met and will probably meet more to determine protocols for this week, next, and the rest of the season. Just yesterday, Lakers guard Russell Westbrook and Cavs wing Isaac Okoro entered protocols ... it’s getting hairy out there, folks.
Milwaukee’s all-everything Giannis Antetokounmpo is out because of health and safety protocols, as is Bobby Portis, Wesley Matthews and newly-healthy Donte DiVincenzo. Khris Middleton missed the last one with a knee injury (but he’s probable for tonight), and a total of seven Bucks missed their previous game, a win against the lowly Pacers. Even without those folks, the Bucks are 13-3 after a rough start. Jrue Holiday should play, so it’ll be good to see our old friend.
If those two are unable to go, the Bucks would have nine active players.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) December 16, 2021
Normal starters: Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen
Bench: Pat Connaughton, DeMarcus Cousins, George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Nwora, Javonte Smart, Sandro Mamukelashvili https://t.co/TMeqcYZUi1
Ingram in Your Eye
Brandon Ingram: fearless shot-maker.
Ingram is taking fewer threes than the previous two seasons by quite a bit: this year he’s taking about 75 percent two-point shots, and his increases are from the long mid-range area. So, even with some of those highlight dunks we’ve seen in recent games, BI is defined by his jumper.
Specifically, since November 29, Ingram is making an eye-popping 71% of his shots from 10-14 feet, per NBA.com. He’s also at a 55% clip from 20-24 feet in that time. Wow, that’s Kevin Durant-esque. These shots are often heavily contested and coming against a set defense and off the bounce — if Ingram can keep possession and get the shot up (or pass it), it feels good. He did hit the HUGE, go-up-3 mid-ranger before the SGA-Devonte’ Graham unlikely shot combo to end the game.
It’s an interesting concept in 2021-22: a young, star-level player taking fewer threes, despite pretty good performances from there the previous two years.
We got one! And, it is QUITE exhaustive, especially compared to earlier (non-) messaging.
Zion Williamson Medical Update:— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 16, 2021
Following a consultation and further evaluation with Dr. Richard Ferkel of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute yesterday, Zion Williamson received a biologic injection into the fracture site to stimulate bone healing in his right foot. pic.twitter.com/sSD0rBq5yK
He got a “biologic injection” in his foot and will be re-evaluated in 6-8 weeks.
2022 here we come!
Who: New Orleans Pelicans (9-21) vs Milwaukee Bucks (19-11)
When: December 17, 2021, 7:00 pm
Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass
Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM
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 @Trabeta.