New Orleans Pelicans: Grades for clutch win vs. Celtics

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Celtics: Grades for the forwards

Big. New Orleans Pelicans. ZION WILLIAMSON. B+.

Zion Williamson had what you would consider a bad night for him and still got 28 points, eight rebounds, and three assists.

Williamson “struggled” with his efficiency, making just 11 of his 22 attempted shots. I don’t think I need to explain those quotation marks because Williamson’s ridiculous efficiency is notorious at this point. Still, Williamson has only finished 50 percent or less from the field on eight of his 44 games this season.

One area where Williamson deserves credit against Boston was on defense. He was attentive on this end of the floor, finishing with four steals because of his active hands and willingness to jump into the passing lanes.

Williamson still struggles on defense, but it helped that he guarded Grant Williams a lot of the time since the Celtics’ big isn’t asked to do a whole lot.

. Wing. New Orleans Pelicans. BRANDON INGRAM. B

Brandon Ingram’s shot was inconsistent against the Celtics, but the New Orleans Pelicans wing found other ways to make an impact.

He still made three of his five triples, but it also helped that he got to the free throw line eleven times. More importantly, he ended with nine assists. None of Ingram’s passes were mind-blowing, but they were all solid reads that helped connect plays on the floor. When Ingram’s shot isn’t going on, I would much rather he concentrate on facilitating than forcing things, as he often does.

Still, Ingram came up big in the clutch. He had a really nice long two over Jayson Tatum that clinched the win for the Pels and will hopefully go some way in dispelling the notion that Ingram cannot be relied on during the most important moments of a game.

Pels executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin had some fun with this on Twitter:

The reason why Ingram’s grade gets docked a bit is because of his substandard defense. Maybe it’s harsh, but you should expect a lot from your franchise stars. I thought he found it tough to defend Tatum during large portions of the game. Ingram’s scoring and playmaking have really improved in New Orleans, but it’s his defense that needs to take a leap going forward.

N/A. . Wing. New Orleans Pelicans. WES IWUNDU

Wes Iwundu got his first minutes for the New Orleans Pelicans after being acquired at the trade deadline.

Iwundu checked in early in the second quarter and only played four minutes, making it impossible to grade him. It was evident that he hadn’t practiced much with his teammates since it didn’t seem like they were on the same page.

The former Dallas and Orlando Magic wing is an intriguing long-term prospect for the Pelicans. His massive length cannot be taught and I think Stan Van Gundy might like him on defense; however, his shot is definitely a problem. Iwundu is 3-of-23 from three this season.

Iwundu is on the books on a cheap contract until next summer, but he’s already 26-years-old and the Pels have two other intriguing 3-and-D wing prospects in Naji Marshall and Didi Louzada. Let’s see if he sticks around and let’s see if he gets more playing time until the end of the season.