Panzura postgame wrap: Pelicans 128, Timberwolves 125

Pelicans (15-26), Timberwolves (20-21)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

After he’d already drained multiple big shots down the stretch Tuesday, New Orleans got the ball to Brandon Ingram with the outcome at stake. Wise decision. Ingram canned a deep three-pointer with three-tenths of a second remaining in regulation, sending the Pelicans to a thrilling victory. Ingram was mobbed by celebrating teammates moments later, as well as at the outset of his TV walk-off interview.

One item on New Orleans’ to-do list entering 2021-22 was to make the Smoothie King Center a less hospitable place for visiting teams. It took some time, but the Pelicans appear to be making strides to achieve that goal. New Orleans won for the sixth time in its last eight home games. The Pelicans’ only home defeats since Dec. 10 have come against the Western Conference’s elite, in last week’s back-to-back vs. Utah and Phoenix.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Minnesota’s Patrick Beverley one-touched a shot from about 60 feet to try to beat the buzzer, but misfired and may not have gotten off the attempt before the horn. Devonte’ Graham gave New Orleans a two-point lead at 125-123 by splitting two free throws with nine seconds remaining, but D’Angelo Russell answered with a driving layup. That set up Ingram’s game-winning bomb.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

It was a whole lot of Ingram offensive production to stake New Orleans to an early lead (10 first-quarter points), then more of the same down the stretch to close the victory. Ingram made three three-pointers and scored 10 points in the final 1:13, twice expanding the Pelicans’ lead to two possessions, first at 121-115, then at 124-118. His initial deep ball in the last two minutes was a four-point play.

Overall, Ingram’s 33 points were highlighted by 6/7 three-point accuracy and 11/19 shooting from the field. He handed out nine assists to lead New Orleans.

BY THE NUMBERS

28: New Orleans fast-break points, creating the easy baskets the Pelicans sorely needed in previous meetings with Minnesota. The Wolves only scored eight transition points.

16/33: Pelicans three-point shooting, a major change from a pair of losses to the Wolves in October and November that were the two worst percentages from the arc for New Orleans all season.

68: Combined free throw attempts for the clubs. Josh Hart noted postgame that the Pelicans wanted to do a better job of keeping the Wolves off the foul line, but the visitors’ 23/31 night helped them make it a nail-biter in the fourth quarter (after NOLA led by 13 points).

REVISITING FANDUEL KEYS TO THE GAME

SECOND CHANCES

Both teams were held under their season average in offensive rebounding. That represented a win for New Orleans by preventing Minnesota from extending possessions and doing extra damage. Valuable but mostly unheralded Wolves big Jarred Vanderbilt finished with just five total rebounds (two on offense).

WHO GETS HOT?

Both teams did. New Orleans shot 57 percent in the first half and finished at 55 percent, while Minnesota’s 49 percent rate was usually good enough to win, but not Tuesday. The clubs shot 49 and 46 percent on threes, with that slight edge going to the Pelicans.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Karl-Anthony Towns (26 points, 9/16 shooting, eight rebounds, five assists) had greater stats than Jonas Valanciunas, but JV posted another double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds) and made Towns work for many of his looks.

#PELSPOTWPOLL

Herbert Jones has become so popular among the team’s fan base that he probably will have a chance to win a Player of the Week vote every time he’s nominated over the remainder of 2021-22. The rookie picked up Pelicans Player of the Week honors for a second straight time, garnering 55 percent of ballots cast on Twitter. New Orleans went 1-3 in Week 12 while facing some stellar competition (Utah, Phoenix, Golden State, Toronto), with Jones topping the Pelicans with 139 total minutes. 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.

Fan view of Brandon Ingram's buzzer-beating walk-off triple vs. Timberwolves

A view from the stands of New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram's buzzer-beating walk-off triple vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 11, 2022. Todd Graffagnini and John DeShazier on the call.

2021-22 Game 41: Pelicans vs. Timberwolves 1/11/22

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Fan view of Brandon Ingram's buzzer-beating walk-off triple vs. Timberwolves

A view from the stands of New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram's buzzer-beating walk-off triple vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 11, 2022. Todd Graffagnini and John DeShazier on the call.
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