Postgame wrap: Pelicans 125, Bulls 120

Pelicans (24-31), Bulls (12-42)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

CHICAGO – New Orleans has so much frontcourt depth that even with a six-time All-Star sitting on the sideline Wednesday, as well as the Pelicans’ most feared three-point shooter, the visitors still had plenty of options at power forward and center. Partly behind productive nights by starting five-man Jahlil Okafor, energetic reserve Cheick Diallo and just-back-from-injury Julius Randle, New Orleans pulled away in the fourth quarter to notch a third road win in its last five away games.

Anthony Davis was being held out of action prior to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, while Nikola Mirotic remains out due to injury, forcing the likes of Okafor, Diallo, Randle and rookie Kenrich Williams to fill larger roles. The group spurred New Orleans to an advantage in points in the paint (60-52) and rebounding (46-36).

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Williams swished a three-pointer from the right side, giving New Orleans a 116-105 lead with just over two minutes remaining. Chicago managed to cut the deficit to just five with less than a minute left, but Zach LaVine misfired on a baseline jumper. Randle marched to the other end and sank two free throws, giving New Orleans a three-possession edge at 0:36.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Randle was a big factor in both halves, notching a team-best 12 points prior to intermission, then sinking some back-breaking buckets in the fourth quarter to help put away the Bulls. The rugged left-hander totaled 31 points and seven rebounds in his 30 minutes, playing for the first time since Jan. 23 vs. Detroit. Randle shot 10/18 from the field, highlighted by 4/6 three-point accuracy.

FOCUS ON: MORE PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT

Williams (12 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) noted after Wednesday’s game that he’s getting increasingly comfortable with each passing outing; the forward has played more in the past two weeks than he did in the previous three months. Something similar could be said for Diallo and teammates such as rookie Frank Jackson, who’s had the expected peaks and valleys of a 20-year-old, brand-new starter, but continues to show promising signs and aggressiveness. The young Pelicans also gained the positive experience of successfully finishing a game in the fourth quarter, after tight contests had resulted in losses recently to Denver, San Antonio and Indiana.

“Kenrich made a big shot down the stretch,” Randle said on postgame radio of Williams’ trey that made it 116-105. “Cheick had great energy off the bench. Jrue (Holiday) and Jah did what they do. Darius (Miller) was good – he made big shots. I think it was just a good, collective team effort. Everybody had their moments.”

BY THE NUMBERS

6: Different Pelicans players to grab between five and nine rebounds. It was a group effort, led by nine from Diallo. Guards Jackson and Tim Frazier combined on a valuable seven offensive boards.

15/35: New Orleans three-point shooting. After struggling in most of their recent games, the Pelicans benefited from four treys apiece by Randle and Darius Miller.

26: New Orleans assists. Holiday didn’t shoot well (6/19 from field), but dished out 11 assists.

9: Total players used by the Pelicans. All nine logged 18-plus minutes. There were only 11 men in uniform, even with Randle returning to action.

GAME RECAP: Pelicans 125, Bulls 120

Julius Randle emerged off the bench for the Pelicans with 31 points as New Orleans beat Chicago 125-120. Lauri Markkanen recorded 30 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls in the loss.

Game 55: Pelicans at Bulls 2/6/19

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GAME RECAP: Pelicans 125, Bulls 120

Julius Randle emerged off the bench for the Pelicans with 31 points as New Orleans beat Chicago 125-120. Lauri Markkanen recorded 30 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls in the loss.
Feb 6, 2019  |  00:00

Pelicans Stat Leader Highlights: Julius Randle scores 31 in return vs. Bulls

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