Postgame wrap: Bucks 130, Pelicans 113

Bucks (51-17), Pelicans (30-40)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Starting point guard Elfrid Payton notched a triple-double and reserve big Cheick Diallo made a momentous second-half impact, but Milwaukee showed why it boasts the NBA’s best record Tuesday, building a 22-point lead and keeping New Orleans at arm’s length for a road win. The Pelicans fired the most three-pointers for them in any game in franchise history, but didn’t make many, finishing just 10 of 47 from deep.

Milwaukee, the NBA’s third-ranked offensive team, only tallied 23 points in the first period, but was a well-oiled machine after that, piling up 78 points in the middle quarters.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Pat Connaughton – a somewhat familiar face to Pelicans fans from last year’s playoffs vs. Portland – sank a corner three-pointer, giving Milwaukee a 19-point lead with roughly four minutes remaining. The Bucks bounced back from a Sunday loss at San Antonio, adding to their lead atop the Eastern Conference standings.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Payton set a career high with 15 rebounds, while also coming up with 14 points and 11 assists, his second consecutive triple-double, after he accomplished the same feat Sunday in Atlanta.

“Just being in the right place at the right time,” Payton explained of his big rebounding night. “A little bit of it was (Milwaukee was) playing a spread five (leaving Milwaukee’s center out of the paint on the Bucks’ offensive end).”

On his two straight triple-doubles, Payton noted, “I definitely feel much healthier than I’ve been throughout the season. I’m kind of getting a head of steam. I’ve just got to try to figure out a way to turn it into wins.”

Diallo didn’t enter Tuesday’s game until late in the third quarter, but posted 11 points and six rebounds in his 14 minutes of action. The Pelicans broke even on the scoreboard with Diallo on the floor Tuesday, but every other player who logged significant minutes was in the negatives in plus-minus.

FOCUS ON: BOMBS AWAY FROM THE ARC

Five different New Orleans players attempted five-plus trifectas Tuesday, but among that group, only Darius Miller (3/5) had an above-average night. Poor perimeter shooting nearly across the board prevented the Pelicans from making much of a dent in Milwaukee’s lead, other than the stretch when Diallo helped get the hosts back within shouting distance.

“We just never really got into a rhythm, where we could keep the pressure on them,” Alvin Gentry said. “After they got the lead, we were exchanging baskets. (To come back) you have to get stops.”

The New Orleans starting five combined to go 5/27 on three-pointers, likely its worst performance in that category of 2018-19. Despite the inaccuracy, Payton was OK with the caliber of attempts the Pelicans were getting at the basket.

“We got a lot of open looks – obviously I have to go back and look at the game – but we got a lot of open shots,” Payton said. “We just didn’t knock them down tonight, for whatever reason.”

Perhaps not surprisingly in a league becoming increasingly dependent on three-point shooting, New Orleans has not won a game with less than 37.5 percent accuracy since Feb. 8 vs. Minnesota (30 percent at 9 of 30).

BY THE NUMBERS

43.9: New Orleans three-point percentage Sunday at Atlanta, the only time the Pelicans have been over 40 percent from distance in a loss since Feb. 1.

7: New Orleans players in double-digit scoring. Milwaukee had six players do so, including its entire starting five, plus former Pelican Nikola Mirotic.

Pelicans Dance Team First Half Performance 03-12-19

The Pelicans Dance Team entertains fans during the first half of the Pelicans game against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 12.

Game 70: Pelicans vs Bucks 3/12/19

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Pelicans Dance Team First Half Performance 03-12-19

The Pelicans Dance Team entertains fans during the first half of the Pelicans game against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 12.
Mar 13, 2019  |  01:25

Pelicans Dance Team Second Half Performance 03-12-19

The Pelicans Dance Team entertains fans during the second half of the Pelicans game against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 12.
Mar 13, 2019  |  01:29

Halftime Performance: Big Sam's Funky Nation 03-12-19

Big Sam's Funky Nation entertained fans during halftime of the Pelicans game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, March 12.
Mar 13, 2019  |  06:42

Pelicans-Bucks Postgame: Elfrid Payton 3-12-19

Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton recaps his performance during tonight's home game vs the Milwaukee Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  03:24

Pelicans-Bucks Postgame: Julius Randle 3-12-19

Pelicans forward Julius Randle recaps tonight's road match-up vs the Milwaukee Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  01:00

Pelicans-Bucks Postgame: Alvin Gentry 3-12-19

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry recaps tonight's home game vs the Milwaukee Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  04:05

New Orleans Pelicans Highlights vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Highlights from the New Orleans Pelicans 113-130 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  02:57

Julius Randle Drops 23 on Milwaukee | Pelicans-Bucks Highlights

Julius Randle scored a team-high 23 points with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal vs the Milwaukee Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  01:58

Anthony Davis Scores 21 vs Milwaukee | Pelicans-Bucks Highlights

Anthony Davis put up 21 points and added 12 rebounds and 2 blocks vs the Milwaukee Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  01:54

Anthony Davis Scores 15 points in the 3rd | Pelicans-Bucks Highlights

Anthony Davis puts up 15 points in the 3rd quarter vs the Milwaukee Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  00:47

Anthony Davis' Huge 1-Handed Alley-oop | Pelicans-Bucks Highlights

Darius Miller finds Anthony Davis for the big-time 1-handed alley-oop dunk vs the Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  00:18

Anthony Davis with the Putback And-1 | Pelicans-Bucks Highlights

Anthony Davis fights off 2 Bucks defenders to get the putback and-1
Mar 12, 2019  |  00:18

Elfrid Payton Posts 14 points, 11 assists & 15 rebounds vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Elfrid Payton stuffs the stat sheet
Mar 12, 2019  |  00:00

Frank Jackson Euro-Steps with the Floater | Pelicans-Bucks Highlights

Frank Jackson with the nice drive and finish vs the Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  00:21

Anthony Davis with the Big Block | Pelicans-Bucks Highlights

Anthony Davis gets a high-point block vs Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  00:28

Darius Miller with the 4 Point Play | Pelicans-Bucks Highlights

Darius Miller with the sweet stroke through contact
Mar 12, 2019  |  00:18

Elfrid Payton finds Julius Randle on the Run | Pelicans-Bucks Highlights

Elfrid Payton uses great vision to find Julius Randle for the fast break bucket against the Milwaukee Bucks
Mar 12, 2019  |  00:21
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