New Orleans Pelicans break team three-pointers mark, but eyes turn to Zion

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Coming out strong against a Western Conference foe, the New Orleans Pelicans were deadly from three in their last game before the anticipated debut.

Continuing to find ways to win after having one of the slowest starts to the season, the New Orleans Pelicans showed up ready to play.

Yesterday, the Pelicans traveled to face the Memphis Grizzlies as a part of a slate of games set as a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Without Derrick Favors and Jahlil Okafor, the Pelicans rode a strong shooting effort to the finish line, hitting 42-of-88 (47.7%) from the floor as a team, enough to push them to a 126-116 win on the road.

Additionally, the team shattered the previous franchise record for three-pointers made in a game, as their 21-for-48 (43.8%) effort from deep.

Contributing heavily to the record-breaking effort and to the win was a returning

Not only was Holiday hot from the field, but he was able to greatly keep rookie standout, Ja Morant, in check. The rookie scored 16 points with 9 assists, but his 5-of-14 shooting effort was underwhelming and he struggled to find space against the tough-defending Holiday.

The team had a hard time accounting for Dillon Brooks, however, as the second-year forward torched the Pelicans for 31 points and 9 rebounds on 12-of-25 shooting (3-of-6 from three).

Just like usual, however, Brandon Ingram was called on to close the game as Memphis surged late.

The Grizzlies outscored the Pelicans 39-28 in the fourth after New Orleans kept their opponents at arm’s length for much of the afternoon.

Ingram scored or assisted on 15 of the team’s final 18 points of the game, as the forward finished with 25 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds.

Drawing contact and hitting big shots, Ingram went 6-of-14 from the floor and 2-of-6 from three, but 11-of-12 from the free-throw line to help seal a Pelicans win.

Nicolò Melli was also fantastic for the New Orleans Pelicans yesterday, posting 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks in 29 minutes going 6-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-8 from three.

Interestingly, Melli was the only Pelican to hit more than two threes outside of Holiday, despite the fact that the team broke the franchise record for made threes in a game.

The win is heightened for the New Orleans Pelicans, especially as it relates to the return of Zion later this week.

Winning yesterday was big for the New Orleans Pelicans’ playoff efforts; the Memphis Grizzlies currently sit at 20-23 and own the eighth seed in the Western Conference picture for the time being.

After the victory, the Pelicans improved to 17-27 on the year, holding them at the twelfth seed in the West, but just 3.5 games out of the playoffs.

Of course, the team is probably thrilled to have stayed in such a good position before the debut of the first pick in last year’s draft; it was the team’s last game before they’ll add Zion Williamson to an already surging and competitive roster.

Wins like these take the pressure off Zion to be anything other than a basketball player.

Some outside the organization were assuming the rookie forward would need to be a superhero to save their season, but with Ingram, Holiday, and Ball playing such good basketball, they really just need Zion to mold into the mix.

The New Orleans Pelicans are setting themselves up well for a run; they’re essentially adding a quality starting player just before the trade deadline, one that’s already been in their system; Zion knows the culture and playbook better than a player entering the stage via trade.

On a closing note, wins like yesterday afternoon’s tilt over Memphis shows that New Orleans is pretty well-positioned to make a run to the West playoffs. Simply, they’ve shown incredible poise against the other teams questing for the same seed.

When they play the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, they’ll get a chance to be close to full strength against another team fighting for the eight.

Next. 10 takeaways as the Pelicans hit the halfway point. dark

With the wait for Zion Williamson now over, the New Orleans Pelicans can now focus on doing whatever it takes to push this team into the playoffs. Now, they can put the pieces together and really make a push with half of a season left to work.