The Pelicans followed up a tough 2-2 road trip by snatching a win on their home court.
They started their week long road trip off in a tough spot, having rolled off of a steep loss to the #1 team in the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the same team that ended the Pelicans 2022-23 season. The Pelicans quickly hit the road for a tough back to back game as they traveled to Milwaukee to face the Bucks, the #2 teams in the East, where they yet again suffered an ugly defeat.
With the Pelicans in dire need for an easy win, there was none in sight as they headed to Boston to play the Celtics, who hold the top spot in the league by a significant margin. While the game ended up in a third consecutive loss, the Pelicans put up a valiant fight, with the game coming down to only a few points in the last few minutes.
Following, the Pelicans head back down south where they were able to grab wins over much more manageable teams. They defeated the Houston Rockets 110-99 and followed it up with a dangerously close 114-113 win against the San Antonio Spurs, who stand at last place in the West.
Pels vs. The Raptors
After being on the road for a long stint, it's easy to lose rhythm. However, the Pelicans were ready to play and showed up for their only home game within this two week span against the Toronto Raptors. They were hot off the bat as they carved out a 20 points lead in the first frame. The second quarter presented a little back and forth battle, but Brandon Ingram's stellar performance locked and sealed this win during the third quarter.
A Stellar Night For Ingram
Within a three minute span during the third quarter, Ingram had managed to put up five consecutive made three-pointers. With each swish of the net, the Pelicans fans grew louder and louder. It would be safe to say it was the loudest the Smoothie King Center has been this season.
Those five three-pointers had pushed his total of three-points made for the game to eight, which is his career high. Not only did he smash his personal record in threes made, he had also broken his season high with 41 points for the night—just 8 points shy of his career high of 49 he had put up in 2020.
When asked about his teammates cheering him on and giving him all the hype, Ingram said, "No matter who it is, we react that way. We all just believe in each other, we really see that work being put in day in and day out."
On top of that, the crowd had given him a standing ovation as he walked off to the bench.
"I always remember little moments like that," Ingram said. "When I first got here, the love that I got was overwhelming. Tonight I was too dialed in to the game but I did get a reminder of that."
When asked if Ingram remembers ever running on such a hot streak like that before, he said, "Well maybe, but definitely not from the three point line." While Ingram had put up plenty more threes earlier in his career, he's pulled back and stuck to more mid-range jumpers in recent seasons—however, this game is a good indicator we will see more three-point attempts from Ingram.
50 Games Down, 32 To Go
In an overall sense, the best takeaway the Pelicans can take from this game is possibly the importance of turnovers—as they ended this game with only seven compared to the Raptors' 18.
As this game hit the 50 game mark for the season for the Pelicans, many fans may worry whether the Pelicans are playoff bound as they teeter up and down the upper-middle rankings in the West.
While the Pels have done great this season against easier teams, they've struggled when faced against the top teams in the league.
Where Y'at asked Coach Green what he thinks the team can do to tackle this barrier, to which he explained, "We've talked about it as a team. Our last five losses were against playoff caliber teams. That's the area of growth we're looking at. We need to bring more competitiveness and our room for error has to be less when we play those teams. The first couple games of this road trip will be a good test."
With that said, tune in to watch the Pelicans play the Clippers on Wednesday—and don't forget to check back with Where Y'at for all the best insider updates.