They got a taste of their own medicine with the deep ball, but New Orleans did themselves few favors, wasting opportunities to trim the deficit even further throughout the second half.
The Pelicans fell 117-109 to the Celtics thanks in part to some prolific 3-point shooting. Boston knocked down 20 3-pointers, with 14 of them coming in the first half. The best team from the Eastern Conference especially got off to a strong start in the first quarter, sinking 10 of 16 to bludgeon New Orleans 40-25 on the scoreboard.
For the rest of the contest, the Pels were stuck playing catch-up and they could never completely get over the hump.
In the previous two games, the Pelicans combined for 35 deep-ball makes, converting them them at a ridiculous 49.3% clip. Tonight, they mustered only 13 makes in 35 shot attempts. They never got hot as a team.
Although the 3-ball stopped falling at a good rate for the Celtics in the second half, it mattered little because the Pelicans offense couldn’t find a good rhythm and they were in large part to blame. Not to take too much away from Boston’s defense, but it felt as though New Orleans could have executed better.
Too many missed layups and open runners, with some failing to even draw iron. There were multiple 24-second violations. Travels. There simply wasn’t much crispness, let alone seeing the ball possess energy. So, while the Pelicans finished with 11 turnovers, it felt like more because New Orleans wasn’t taken advantage of opportunities like their opponent.
The Pels were also hurt by the loss of Trey Murphy III, who was ruled out for the rest of the game at halftime with right foot soreness. He had apparently stepped on an opponent’s foot at some point in the first half.
Brandon Ingram finished with 25 points and seven assists. He particularly sought the 3-point shot, posting season highs in makes (five) and attempts (11).
CJ McCollum scored 18 points but it took 18 shots to reach that total. Jose Alvarado also struggled from an efficiency standpoint, missing all six of his 3-point attempts.
Herb Jones had one of his finest games of the season, finishing with a line of 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. He also made a few 3s, giving him six makes in his last nine attempts.
Jaylen Brown was magnificent for Boston, posting a line of 27 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but Derrick White (26 points) and Al Horford (18 points) were huge thorns in New Orleans’ side too, combining for 10 3s.
Jayson Tatum had 19 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists.
Up next, the Pelicans will face the Golden State Warriors. A win on Monday would give New Orleans a 4-2 record on this long home stand and get them back to three games over .500. A loss, well, you can do that easy math.