New Orleans Pelicans: Beautiful things in an ugly win over the Bulls

Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans gutted out a tough and ugly road win over the Chicago Bulls on a night when they didn’t have their best game.

If you just looked at the numbers, you wouldn’t think the Pels won this game, as they shot just 3-of-19 from 3-point range and got relatively quiet nights from their stars.

Zion Williamson only had 19 points, Brandon Ingram had 22 and CJ McCollum struggled, scoring just seven points on 3-of-13 shooting. No one on the bench scored in double digits and the Pelicans committed 16 turnovers to just 20 assists.

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This wasn’t a game they should have won, but the Pels battled in the 4th quarter and got the tough road win in Chicago with a chance to return to New Orleans with big momentum heading into a six game home stand.

It wasn’t the prettiest win, but the “W” is all that counts and there were some beautiful moments.

Jonas Valanciunas carrying the load early

The Pelicans got down by 11 early in the game, but were able to come back at the end of the first half behind an offensive burst from Jonas Valanciunas, who finished the game with 21 points and 13 rebounds, getting the better of Vucevic.

He scored seven points out of 17 during the comeback and helped New Orleans get the lead and some positive momentum heading into halftime. It was nice to see Valanciunas step up on a night when the Pels’ stars were struggling early.

Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram taking over for the New Orleans Pelicans

Both Zion and BI had had quiet nights heading into the 4th quarter, as the Pelicans trailed by three.

That didn’t last long, as Zion exploded at the beginning of the 4th, powering his way to the rim and drawing fouls, which got the Bulls into the bonus early, which was crucial.

Then it was Ingram’s time to take over, and he and DeMar DeRozan went back and forth exchanging buckets, both hitting some incredible shots. Ingram notched 16 points in the 4th quarter and it was a thing of beauty to watch:

After the game, Ingram had this to say about the 4th quarter:

"“Zion (Williamson) turned to me before the start of the fourth quarter and said, ‘Let’s turn it up a notch.”"

They certainly did, as the Pels’ stars took over and were able to close a tough road game, which is a great sign for the future.

The reliable free-throw line

How do you win a game when you hit 15 percent of your 3-point shots? By getting in the paint and getting to the line.

The New Orleans Pelicans did plenty of both, as they were able to get the Bulls in the bonus early in the 4th quarter, shooting 36 free throws overall, while Chicago took just 18 attempts.

That was the difference in the game, and something the Pelicans can rely upon as they continue to play a unique style of offense in the modern NBA that doesn’t rely on 3-point shots.

It’s nice to get a win on the road when your team doesn’t have a great night, and now the Pelicans have momentum as they get back at it at home tonight against the Trail Blazers.

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