Panzura postgame wrap: Pelicans 117, Pacers 113

One team held a significant scoring advantage from three-point territory, but the other flourished in the paint. Although basic math dictates that three is more than two, New Orleans rode dominance around the basket to a Monday interconference victory, despite some red-hot perimeter shooting by Indiana.

The Pacers drained 13 more treys than the Pelicans, but the hosts doubled Indiana in the paint by a 64-32 margin. A concerted effort to get the ball to big man Jonas Valanciunas and drive to the hoop helped the Pelicans prevail despite seeing a barrage of Indiana trifectas.

“They made some big shots,” New Orleans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker said of the Pacers. “They got hot, especially some timely ones. But overall, our mindset to stay the course and stick to our principles is highlighted even more. To still win a game when a team shoots as well as they did.”


Alexander-Walker’s two free throws with 1.4 seconds to go iced the outcome for New Orleans. Josh Hart previously made two free throws with 10 seconds left, giving New Orleans a five-point edge. That was even more critical when Indiana’s Caris LeVert sank an off-balance trey with just two ticks to go, cutting the gap to 115-113.

Valanciunas’ layup put the Pelicans up at a seemingly comfortable 109-102 with 1:01 left, but the Pacers continued to keep their hopes alive by sinking three-pointers.


On a night when the Pelicans needed their big offensive weapons to step up sans Brandon Ingram, Graham scored 20-plus points for the first time since Jan. 4 vs. Phoenix. Graham was also the only reliable threat Monday from three-point range, responsible for nearly all of his team’s makes. He finished with 25 points, highlighted by 5/9 three-point accuracy.


19/46: Indiana three-point shooting. New Orleans finished 6/30. Besides Graham, the Pelicans shot 1/21, with Hart accounting for that make.

62-61: Indiana lead at halftime, a surprisingly high game score given the injury absences of so many major scorers for both sides.

28: Bench scoring by the Pelicans, split equally between Alexander-Walker and Jaxson Hayes.



This was a big plus for the Pelicans. Playing without Ingram, New Orleans had four players in double-digit scoring by halftime and totaled six. Herbert Jones nearly made it seven in double digits, posting nine points.


Indiana shot 48 percent in the first half, including 7/17 on threes, but cooled significantly after intermission. New Orleans followed up its 10-steal outing at New York with seven thefts against the Pacers (four from reserves).


Indiana’s bench held the overall upper hand, thanks largely to a phenomenal shooting performance by guard Duane Washington Jr., who went 7/12 from three-point range, for a team-best 21 points. Both benches provided a boost, with only one substitute for either team recording a negative plus-minus.


Jose Alvarado has been figuring more and more prominently in New Orleans’ rotation this month, highlighted by his memorable 14-point, four-steal performance Thursday at New York. That was enough to make Alvarado hands-down the fan-vote winner of Week 14 top Pelicans player, picking up 72 percent of votes. Alvarado also had two steals in Monday’s loss at Boston. Previous winners were Week 1: Brandon Ingram; Week 2: Jonas Valanciunas; Week 3: Jonas Valanciunas; Week 4: Jonas Valanciunas; Week 5: Jonas Valanciunas; Week 6: Devonte’ Graham; Week 7: Brandon Ingram; Week 8: Brandon Ingram; Week 9: Devonte’ Graham; Week 10: Josh Hart; Week 11: Herbert Jones; Week 12: Herbert Jones; Week 13: Brandon Ingram.