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Pelicans full comeback in win over Celtics

NEW ORLEANS — Coming off the heels of a historic collapse on Friday night time, issues as soon as once more seemed like they have been trending within the mistaken route for the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday afternoon.

The Pelicans watched because the Boston Celtics stretched their lead out to 24 factors halfway via the third quarter, and it appeared as if the Pelicans have been on their solution to one other disappointing defeat.

However as an alternative of folding and wilting away like they’ve completed a number of instances this season, New Orleans responded.

And it did so utilizing one thing that is been porous for a lot of the season — its protection.

From the 6:29 mark of the third quarter via the top of additional time, New Orleans held Boston to only 36 factors on 32% taking pictures because the Pelicans stormed again to finish the biggest comeback in franchise historical past in a 120-115 win.

“It was a big win for us. We stayed true to who we were,” Pelicans ahead Zion Williamson stated. “We rallied back. Everybody, the coaches, the players, the ball boys, everybody was just engaged. We needed all that energy, and we pulled through.”

That power stage was — perhaps — at a season low on Friday. The Pelicans carried an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter towards the Phoenix Suns and misplaced by 18 factors. In accordance with the Elias Sports activities Bureau, it was the biggest loss within the shot-clock period for a workforce that entered the fourth quarter up double digits.

Whereas their protection failed them then, it is one thing the Pelicans have been in a position to lean on extensively towards Boston, led by guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.

“Me and J-Hart, we’re looked upon to guard the stars of the other team pretty much night in and night out,” Ball stated. “We just did our best to slow those guys down the best we could. It’s not just two guys guarding the ball, though. We all came together on that side of the ball.”

And whereas the cost was led by protection, the Pelicans additionally needed to look to their two star gamers to complete issues out on the offensive finish. With the Celtics up 106-105 with 10.5 seconds to play, the Pelicans had to attract up a play to take the lead. Two video games after Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy opted to let Brandon Ingram get the ball on the ultimate possession in a loss to the Portland Path Blazers, he went to Williamson this time round. Williamson caught the ball off a display screen from Ingram and faked a handoff to Ball. He took it straight at Tristan Thompson, drawing the foul because the layup went in.

“That means a lot to me,” Williamson stated of getting the ball in that second. “That’s what every player puts in hard work, to be in those moments. … [Assistant coach Teresa Weatherspoon] especially. When she saw I was frustrated in the first half and came to me and gave me a lot of words about confidence. It means a lot.

“They’re all taking a look at me in that second like, ‘We with you. No matter resolution you make, we’re with you.’ To have individuals behind me like that, it means so much.”

Williamson said Ingram was the last person who said something to him coming out the huddle before the play, but Ingram tried his best to downplay his role.

“I do not suppose he wanted any additional encouragement,” Ingram said. “He made a basketball play that we imagine in, and he made the shot.”

Extra encouragement or not, it worked. But the job wasn’t done for New Orleans, as Celtics forward Jayson Tatum made a bucket to send the game into overtime.

In the extra frame, this time it was Ingram’s time to shine.

With the game tied at 112 with 50.1 to play, Pelicans forward Nicolo Melli and Celtics center Daniel Theis were called for a double lane violation on an Ingram free throw attempt. That meant a jump ball at the center circle between Williamson and Celtics forward Robert Williams.

Williamson won the tip and eventually got the ball back at the top of the key. As he drove, the defense collapsed and Williamson kicked the ball out to Ingram, who knocked down a 3-pointer with 34.4 seconds left.

“Every time I am within the pick-and-roll because the ball handler, I attempt to make the very best learn,” Williamson said. “I believe in that state of affairs, after me attending to the basket a pair instances, I learn that they have been going to break down. As quickly as they collapsed, Brandon is a knockdown shooter. He was there, so I made the go. As y’all noticed, he is constructed for these moments.”

The win came at a much-needed time for New Orleans, which had lost five of six games.

Ingram said the comeback itself was what he was most encouraged about, and it feels like something the Pelicans could use to get their season back on track.

“I believe we will take away that we’re actually, actually good once we keep collectively,” Ingram said. “Guys have been speaking tonight. Everyone on the bench was speaking. Coaches have been speaking with the gamers, and we had an excellent response.”

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