The New Orleans Pelicans might be back in the play-in tournament picture after a revenge win against the Golden State Warriors.
It’s a tough ask, but New Orleans’ 103-108 victory over Golden State at the very least gives Stan Van Gundy’s squad something to play for until the end of the regular season. It was a magnificent performance from the Pels, who bounced back in a big way after getting trounced by the Stephen Curry-led Warriors the night before.
Tuesday night’s game was a close affair all the way until the end. The potential for a tasking overtime on the second night of a back-to-back was daunting, but the Pelicans pulled through in the final stretch.
It is worth mentioning that this was without Steven Adams and Brandon Ingram. Both went back to the locker room after sustaining injuries and their status will need to be monitored for New Orleans’ upcoming road trip. Zion Williamson also appeared to suffer a hand injury, but he
came back and closed the game strong.
Now, the Pelicans are only two games behind the 10th-placed San Antonio Spurs. The rest of the schedule is very tough, but if there’s one team that can provide surprises, it is this Pels team.
Here are the player grades for the Pels’ win against the Warriors, starting with my personal MVP:
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Golden State Warriors: Grading the best player
LONZO BALLGuard, New Orleans Pelicans
One man dominated the conversation around the Pelicans before and after this game: Lonzo Ball.
Prior to tip-off, his detractors were quick to point out an awful 3-of-18 shooting night. It was a bad performance off the back of a 33-point outing and Ball knew as much. He texted Zion Williamson after his disappointing showing and promised he would bounce back.
And what a revenge game this was. Ball was on fire all night long, once again tying his career-high of 33 points and leading the Pelicans to a crucial win. He made seven of his 13 threes.
The UCLA product came up with some absolutely huge plays down the stretch. Ball tied the game twice with a pair of vital threes and then hit what should really be considered the game-winning shot. It was a beautiful stepback two after a behind-the-back that delicately swished through the net.
As if that wasn’t enough, Ball then clinched the victory for the Pelicans by making all four of his free throws when the Warriors put him on the line. He is now shooting 80 percent from the charity stripe, still on low volume but a massive percentage improvement to his 57 percent last season.
The Pelicans must do everything possible to retain Ball’s services past this offseason.