Brandon Ingram's mid-range masterclass schools Knicks in blowout New Orleans Pelicans win

New Orleans Pelicans v New York Knicks
New Orleans Pelicans v New York Knicks / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Welcome to the Four Point Play! Pelican Debrief's way to recap last night's action. The hope here is that in a quick read, you'll learn everything you need to know about last night's game through stats, highlights, opinions, and ideally a couple of laughs (laughs not promised). Let's get it started.

One highlight of the night

Welcome back Trey Murphy. The talented third-year swingman has had an up and down 2023-24 season. Last night, his brilliance was on full display. This second quarter dunk was just the primer for a Trigga Trey fourth quarter takeover that sealed the game for the Pelicans. Murphy's ascent in the Garden was a sight for sore eyes. If his shooting touch returns to spark the second unit once CJ McCollum and Jose Alvarado return, the Pelicans become a much tougher out in the Western Conference.

Two Stats to know

41 Pelicans fourth-quarter points
18 three-pointers made

The Pelicans crunch time woes have been well-documented. The team ranks near the bottom of the league in fourth-quarter net rating, point differential, and clutch time scoring. To see the team light up Madison Square Garden with a last stanza flurry was cathartic to those who have seen the Pelicans blow games down the stretch.

The key cog in the final quarter dominance was the Pels' hot three-point shooting. Seven of the eighteen three pointers were hit in the fourth. Again, "hot shooting" and "fourth-quarter" aren't phrases that have been said too many times in NOLA this year, and even though it came against a short-handed Knicks squad, the confidence boost can not be overstated.

Thee Stars of the game

⭐️ Zion Williamson - 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
⭐️⭐️ Brandon Ingram - 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Trey Murphy - 26 point, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 turnovers, 6-11 from three

Stated it earlier, but if Trey Murphy resurgence becomes a long-term thing, it makes the Pelicans that much more dangerous going forward. Adding a hot-shooting Murphy into a wing rotation that already includes budding superstar Herb Jones and score-first Brandon Ingram gives New Orleans three steady options to throw at opposing forwards in the Western Conference playoffs.

New Orleans knows what they're going to get from Ingram and Zion. An efficient 20 points a night and solid playmaking for their teammates. The production that comes outside of that will ultimately determine the team's ceiling.

Four Takeaways

1. Hello, Brandon Ingram. The veteran forward put on a shot-making display in the second half that would raise Michael Jordan's eyebrows. Ingram flashed his elite handle and soft touch to key a third quarter run that would set up the Pelicans dominant fourth quarter. It was nice to see BI back to his old self after battling illness after the All Star break.

2. In four post-All Star break games, the Pelicans have had four different players lead the team in scoring. One could look at that and say the team lacks an alpha bucket-getter which caps their ceiling come playoff time. Another could look at that and laud the team's depth and ability to get production up and down the roster. Choose your own adventure, but I'll choose to believe that depth wins games in April and May and the New Orleans wing/forward depth will bode well when the calendar flips to spring.

3. The Pelicans broadcast talked about how the team practiced with silent signals in yesterday's pregame walkthrough. They expected a raucous atmosphere in Madison Square Garden (they got it), and wanted to implement some new ways to call plays. Whatever they did worked out well. The Knicks are firmly in the upper-echelon in the East and even though they were missing a few starters the Pelicans laid it on them thick for four quarters. Kudos to Willie Green for making an adjustment.

4. New Orleans now sits a full game ahead of the seventh seeded Sacramento Kings in the race to skip the play-in games. The Pelicans get a couple days off before a sweepable home-and-home with the Indiana Pacers as they look to cement themselves in the top six of the West.