New Orleans never led in the second half Thursday, trailing by as many as 20 points in the process, but the Pelicans fought back, forcing overtime. Ultimately though, Phoenix evened its season series with New Orleans at one win apiece, led by Devin Booker’s 44-point eruption.
As New Orleans awaits the regular season debut of the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, Zion Williamson, the team’s two other first-rounders gained more valuable experience Thursday. Lottery pick Jaxson Hayes powered in a few highlight-reel dunks en route to a 17-point night, while No. 17 selection Nickeil Alexander-Walker provided a second-half spark, scoring seven points in 11 minutes.
The Pelicans were down 16 entering the fourth quarter, but outscored the Suns 34-18 in the final 12 minutes to create an extra period.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
New Orleans missed a three-point shot with about 15 seconds left in OT; Phoenix collected the rebound and ran a few more seconds off the clock, prior to Booker sinking free throws for a three-possession margin. Booker made all 13 of his attempts from the foul line.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Lonzo Ball played arguably his best game of the season, posting a 20-11 game while shooting extremely efficiently from the field and three-point range. The third-year pro finished 6/9 from the field, including 4/5 on three-pointers. He was also perfect on four foul shots and grabbed six rebounds.
“He’s getting more comfortable,” Jrue Holiday said of Ball. “The way he pushes the pace, getting into the paint, making plays for other people. Even defensively, running around, scrambling and making it hard on everybody.”
BY THE NUMBERS
6: Stitches for Brandon Ingram after receiving a right eye laceration in the second half. He returned to the game anyway and authored 21 points, six rebounds and four assists.
24: Pelicans turnovers, which led to 29 Suns points. A couple of the miscues occurred at crucial junctures in OT.
17/41: New Orleans three-point shooting. JJ Redick led the team at 5/7 from the arc.
For all eight Thursday games throughout New Orleans’ regular season, we’ll be selecting a Pelicans player we think will most exceed his season average in made three-pointers that night. Daniel Sallerson selected Jrue Holiday, while Jim Eichenhofer picked Josh Hart. In a fan poll among four other candidates, Lonzo Ball was chosen. The winner of the fourth contest was the fans, after Ball surpassed his prior season average of 2.3 by making four treys. As a result, the season standings are now Jim 2, Daniel 1, Fans 1. Sallerson and Eichenhofer cannot repeat a player among any of the first four Thursday games, nor the second four Thursday games.
Oct. 31 vs. Denver, Jim – Jrue Holiday (Daniel pick: JJ Redick; Fans: Lonzo Ball)
Nov. 14 vs. LA Clippers, Daniel – Frank Jackson (Jim: JJ Redick; Fans: Nickeil Alexander-Walker)
Nov. 21 at Phoenix, Jim – E’Twaun Moore (Daniel: Nicolo Melli; Fans: Brandon Ingram)