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Pelicans look to continue recent success against Pacers

/ 10:11 PM January 04, 2021
New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson

FILE – Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles during the second half of a game against the Toronto Raptors at Amalie Arena on December 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images/AFP

The New Orleans Pelicans have won two games in a row for the first time this season.

The Indiana Pacers’ fast start has been slowed by two losses in their last three games.

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The Pelicans will try to build on their momentum as they host the Pacers on Monday night.

New Orleans lost a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter before battling back to edge Toronto 120-116 on Saturday night.

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“There’s still a lot to work on obviously,” Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said, “but the thing I like the best is our resilience. I mean we’ve hung in there.

“We’re already here early in the year having a pattern of resiliency, and I think that’s obviously a good thing for a team to have.”

New Orleans had a 101-89 lead early in the fourth quarter against Toronto, but the Raptors took a 113-111 lead with 2:47 left.

Brandon Ingram, who scored a game-high 31 points, tied the score by making two free throws, then Eric Bledsoe made a 3-pointer to give New Orleans a 116-113 lead with 42 seconds left and Ingram sealed the victory by making four free throws.

“He was bloody brilliant,” center Steven Adams said of Ingram. “We are going to lean on him every game … mostly him and Zion (Williamson).”

Williamson added 21 points against Toronto to help the Pelicans overcome what Van Gundy said overall was “probably our worst defensive game of the year.”

The Pelicans are playing their second game of a four-game home-stand while the Pacers are playing their second road game of the season.

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Indiana had a fourth-quarter lead before falling to the visiting New York Knicks 106-102 on Saturday.

“They made the shots when they needed to,” said coach Nate Bjorkgren. “We didn’t. The ball just didn’t bounce our way.”

The Pacers had a three-point lead with 4:29 to play, but they didn’t score again until 8.8 seconds remained, and New York took advantage with an 11-0 run.

“I felt like we got a couple of good looks, we just didn’t make them,” Victor Oladipo said. “I know for me, I’ve been making those shots pretty much since the season started. It was just one of those nights where we just couldn’t make (any) shots.”

Malcolm Brogdon had career-highs of 33 points and seven 3-point field goals. The Pacers tied a franchise record with 19 3-pointers made in a franchise-record 50 attempts.

“I thought we had a lot of good open looks,” Bjorkgren said. “We made some of them. But we just need to come up with more second-chance points.”

The Knicks had a 51-32 rebounding advantage and outscored the Pacers 56-26 in the paint.

“There are going to be nights like this in the NBA,” Oladipo said. “It’s unfortunate. You wish you could’ve come out with a win with nights like this.”

Domantas Sabonis had his sixth straight double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Pacers forward T.J. Warren is out indefinitely after having surgery on his left foot. Aaron Holiday has started the last two games in his place.

Against the Knicks, Holiday did not score, missing all six of his shots, including five 3-pointers.

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TAGS: Brandon Ingram, Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers, NBA, New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson
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