Today was definitely a new day.
After the offense failed to show up in last night’s 110-96 loss to the Thunder, the New Orleans Pelicans found their groove less than 24 hours later, absolutely pounding the Portland Trail Blazers into oblivion.
The fireworks began early. Trey Murphy had nine points within the first five minutes. The Pelicans had doubled up the Trail Blazers (24-12) on the scoreboard just past the midpoint of the first quarter.
They went on to finish the frame with 42 points.
New Orleans totaled 44 points in the first half against the Thunder.
The Trail Blazers made a run, cutting the Pelicans’ lead to seven in the second, but the home team quickly regained control. They took a commanding 74-54 lead into halftime.
Trey Murphy (25 points) and CJ McCollum (22 points) each enjoyed their best halves of the season. They were a big part of the Pelicans’ explosion from 3-point range, combining to make nine of New Orleans’ 12 makes.
The Pelicans hit 12 3-pointers in the first half. That's their most in any half over the last two seasons.— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) March 13, 2023
They haven't made 12 3s *total* in 37 of 67 games this year.
With Herb Jones connecting on a corner 3-ball to open up the scoring in the second half, the good vibes obviously continued.
The Pelicans proceeded to build a 94-64 lead with 5:31 remaining in the third quarter. Although McCollum cooled off, Trigga most certainly didn’t, carrying the scoring load once again.
3 STRAIGHT THREES FOR TREY MURPHY III.— NBA (@NBA) March 13, 2023
CAREER-HIGH 39 POINTS, 9 THREES.
Get to the NBA App: https://t.co/1pomQZN8Pi pic.twitter.com/6ovbexXaQ1
Murphy scored 14 of his career-high 41 points in the third quarter. He didn’t play the final 10:31 of regulation. Had the game not been a blowout, he would have received another opportunity to add more to his line that also included nine made 3s and seven rebounds.
“We talked about it today, on having perspective on the floor and doing a walk through,” Willie Green said. “I asked Trey (Murphy lll) what you were doing this time last year, and he was like ‘I just started playing, pretty much.’ So that’s perspective. Now, you’re a major contributor to our program and that is something to be proud of. You just have to keep building and keep looking at life like that. Tonight, he just went out and played free. He’s open, he shot the ball and he continued to make the right play when he wasn’t.”
In addition to McCollum finishing with 22 points and 11 assists, Herb Jones impressed as well, posting a box score of 16 points, four rebounds, seven assists and two steals. He was incredibly efficient, making 7-of-9 field goals and 2-of-4 3-pointers.
Josh Richardson led the bench mob with 19 points, four 3s and four steals.
The Trail Blazers were led by Anfernee Simons’ 17 points. Damian Lillard was a late scratch due to right calf tightness.
The Pelicans last 48 hours aptly describes their up and down season. Sometimes the basketball has made for the hardest of watches for a full 48 minutes. In other moments, it’s been splendid, as tonight.
At one point early in the fourth quarter, the Pelicans led by as many as 39 points, before settling for the 127-110 victory.
The Pelicans finished with a season-high 19 made 3s, but it was just as stirring to see 40 3-point attempts by the team.
New Orleans moves into a 3-way tie with the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder for 10th in the Western Conference at 33-35 overall. One more game remains on this vital home stand: a date with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. There’s a decent chance that Brandon Ingram returns for that ultra-important matchup.
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