PHILADELPHIA – Free throws seem like the simplest part of a basketball game, but on Friday, an inability to consistently make them proved costly for New Orleans. Trying to halt a lengthy losing streak against a very formidable foe, the Pelicans stayed within striking distance of Philadelphia, but couldn’t close the gap in the second half, partly due to inaccuracy at the foul line. New Orleans missed 11 of its 35 total free throws, while Philadelphia was more effective capitalizing there. The Pelicans tried to gain an edge by fouling poor foul shooter Ben Simmons on purpose late in the fourth quarter, but Simmons made a handful after initially struggling.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Jrue Holiday’s off-balance, near-desperation three-pointer from the right wing misfired, leading to Philadelphia free throws. Tobias Harris sank a pair for a seven-point edge with 7.2 seconds remaining.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Brandon Ingram helped keep New Orleans respectable at the foul line, as well as in the game on the scoreboard. Particularly in the second half, the first-year Pelican and forward drove to the basket for layups or earned his way to free throws, approaching his career high for trips to the charity stripe. Ingram led the Pelicans by pouring in 32 points, including 11 of 13 accuracy on free throws.
For Friday games during the regular season, a fan poll question will be asked on Twitter. The fourth question of 2019-20 was “Among some of the notable trends early in the 2019-20 NBA season, which is your favorite?” The winner was somewhat of an old-school pick, with over 50 percent voting for the league’s stricter interpretation of traveling, which also may partly explain why there have been more turnovers per game across the NBA (15.1 entering Friday’s games) than there have been in 13 years. The runner-up was higher-scoring games (the last two seasons have been the best offensively points-wise since the mid-1980s), followed by the increase in three-point shooting and the implementation of more instant replay, respectively.