Panzura postgame wrap: Wizards 117, Pelicans 115 (OT)
Washington had a chance to win Friday at the end of regulation on a deep jumper, then again on a deep jumper at the end of overtime as well. The Wizards didn’t make either shot, but on the latter attempt – by guard Russell Westbrook – the hosts benefited from a defensive foul, setting up Westbrook for the game-deciding free throws. Zion Williamson was ruled to have tapped Westbrook on the elbow with 1.9 seconds remaining in the extra period, leading to Washington picking up an important victory, while handing New Orleans a difficult defeat.
The Pelicans received one break on the scoreboard later Friday, when San Antonio lost by one point to Portland. As a result, the 10th-place Spurs could not add to their two-game lead on the Pelicans for the final play-in spot. The Southwest Division clubs will meet in the Crescent City on April 24. New Orleans has three games (at New York, vs. Brooklyn, at Orlando) prior to hosting the Spurs.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Down two points with less than two ticks to go in OT, James Johnson inbounded from the deep baseline and fired a pass to Brandon Ingram, whose desperation 55-footer before the buzzer glanced off the front of the rim.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ingram and rookie forward Naji Marshall were instrumental in putting New Orleans in position to have a great chance to win, as the visitors built a seven-point lead with four-plus minutes remaining. Ingram tied his season high by totaling 34 points, including 24 in a first half where the Pelicans needed all of that to remain within a point of the Wizards at intermission. Marshall registered his first double-double (16 points and 11 rebounds, along with six assists), making his standard “glue guy” plays. He was so vital to New Orleans that he ended up logging a career-high 33 minutes.
BY THE NUMBERS
41.2: New Orleans shooting percentage from the field, part of why it could not put Washington away when it had a few chances to do so in the fourth quarter.
56-46: Pelicans rebounding advantage. They won offensive boards by an 11-3 spread.
REVISITING THREE KEYS TO VICTORY PRESENTED BY FANDUEL
For the second time this season, Beal scored significant points vs. New Orleans, but needed a boatload of shot attempts to do so. He ended up with 77 total points in the two games, on a whopping 66 shots. Westbrook had an above-average shooting outing (13 of 24) and hurt the Pelicans badly in OT, canning a pair of threes and making the winning foul shots.
CLOSE THE GAP
It was not only closed, but the three-point shooting battle was actually won by New Orleans. Neither team shot well from distance, though, with the Pelicans going 7/28 and making single-digit treys for a sixth straight game, this time even with Lonzo Ball back on the court. Washington was an unsightly 4/27.
New Orleans lost points in the paint by a 62-50 margin, and Washington came up with a handful of crucial defensive stops by denying Williamson and the Pelicans on attacks to the rim, particularly due to the presence of active Wizards center Daniel Gafford.