Sports Ball bounces back with 33, Pelicans top Warriors 108-103
NHL evaluating alternate plans for North Division's playoff setup
As the Stanley Cup Playoffs creep closer and closer and there has been no change at the Canadian border, it is seeming more and more likely that there will be some form of relocation in the postseason. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the NHL is not rushing to any conclusions, waiting to see if border policies are relaxed, but have to evaluate alternative plans for the North Division winner to be able to compete in the semifinals and Cup Final this season.
NEW ORLEANS — As Lonzo Ball's step-back jumper for the lead went down in the final 30 seconds, the Pelicans guard briefly turned toward the stands with his chest bowed out.
The scene stood in stark contrast to a night earlier, when Ball missed 15 of 18 shots in a lopsided loss and then apologetically texted teammate Zion Williamson with a pledge to do better.
Ball hit seven 3-pointers and capped a 33-point performance with a go-ahead shot and four clutch free throws in the final 25.3 seconds, and the Pelicans pulled out a crucial 108-103 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.
Williamson scores 23, leads Pelicans past Clippers, 120-103
NEW ORLEANS — Zion Williamson scored 23 points on an array of power moves, spinning dribbles and even a 3-pointer, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Los Angeles Clippers 120-103 on Monday night. “We were very unselfish tonight. The ball got a lot of movement,” Williamson said. “A lot of people created with or without the ball. So, I think mostly the ball movement and the collective (effort) on defence got us the W.” Lonzo Ball had 18 points,“We were very unselfish tonight. The ball got a lot of movement,” Williamson said. “A lot of people created with or without the ball. So, I think mostly the ball movement and the collective (effort) on defence got us the W.
“I wanted to be there for the guys tonight, especially Zion, who's going out every night and basically getting 30 (points) and 10 (rebounds) for us," Ball said while explaining the motivation for his text to Williamson. "For me, to have the type of performance I had (Monday), it's unacceptable, especially at this time of the year. And I wanted to fix it.”
Stephen Curry, who had 37 points and hit eight 3s, missed a deep jumper that could have given Golden State the lead in the final 20 seconds. Mychal Mulder briefly appeared to have a long offensive rebound in his grasp when Williamson stole it and drew a clear path foul from Draymond Green.
Williamson, who had 23 points and 12 rebounds, hit his free throws. The Warriors then fouled Ball twice more after that, but Ball didn't miss and New Orleans pulled within three games of a Western Conference play-in position with six contests remaining.
Jokic blocks late shot, Nuggets hold off Pelicans 114-112
DENVER — Nikola Jokic scored 32 points and blocked Zion Williamson's shot from behind with 2.2 seconds remaining as the Denver Nuggets keep rolling even without standout point guard Jamal Murray, holding off the New Orleans Pelicans 114-112 Wednesday night. Leading by nine points with 52.8 seconds remaining, the suddenly turnover-prone Nuggets withstood a furious rally by the Pelicans, who cut the lead to 114-112 with 9.9 seconds remaining. Williamson was going in for a dunk when Jokic knocked the ball away. Michael Porter Jr. added 28 points and Facundo Campazzo made three critical 3-pointers down the stretch on his way to a career-high 19 points.
Afterward, Williamson praised Ball for holding himself accountable in his text and then bouncing back strong in the next game.
“You love to have teammates like that, you know, that say stuff like that and come the next day and show out," Williamson said. “That's what I love about Lonzo. He just wants to win and will do whatever it takes.”
Eric Bledsoe scored 14 points and Brandon Ingram 13 for the Pelicans. But Ingram, one of New Orleans leading scorers, went to the locker room with 4:39 left in the third quarter because of a left ankle sprain and did not return.
Andrew Wiggins scored 26 points and Green contributed 12 rebounds and nine assists for the Warriors, who took the first of back-to-back games in New Orleans on Monday night, 123-108.
“Clearly, we were tired in the fourth,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Give New Orleans credit. They made the plays that they had to, to win.”
Curry, however, disputed the notion that fatigue could have been a determining factor.
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 6, 2021
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“The guys on the other side played the same minutes last night,” Curry said. "That can’t be an excuse at all.”
Warriors: Curry's first 3 of the night gave him 300 in a season for the fourth time in his career. ... Curry and Wiggins were the only Warriors to reach double digits scoring. ... Went 20 of 53 (37.7% from 3-point range). ... Committed 18 turnovers, six by Green. ... Attempted just seven free throws, making five.
Pelicans: Center Steven Adams played for the first time in four games and had eight rebounds before reinjuring his toe while diving to save a ball from going out of bounds in the second half. ... Williamson's double-double was his 14th this season. ... Naji Marshall scored 10 points and Jaxson Hayes scored eight, including two baskets in the Pelicans' final surge, to go with nine rebounds.
Although Curry produced at much the same rate as a night earlier — when he also made eight 3s and scored 41 — New Orleans played better offensively, which reduced Golden State’s transition chances. The Pelicans also defended more effectively off the ball, preventing players other than Curry from getting the type of easy baskets they’d gotten on Monday night.
Grizzlies beat Pelicans 115-110, secure play-in spot
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dillon Brooks scored 23 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, and the Memphis Grizzlies secured a spot in the post-season play-in tournament by beating the New Orleans Pelicans 115-110 on Monday night. Kyle Anderson had 14 points and four blocks, while Ja Morant had 12 points and 12 assists. Memphis assured itself of finishing no worse than 10th in the Western Conference and is jostling with Golden State for the eighth spot. The seventh- and eighth-place teams only have to win one game to reach the main playoff bracket, while the ninth and 10th teams must win two. “We want to get over the hump.
Neither team led by double digits the entire game, but Golden State led for much of the second half before Ball helped spearhead a 29-18 run to close the game, twice tying the game with 3s in the final 3:18.
“This is a group that fights,” Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Last night we took a beating, but we came right back tonight and got down nine in the second half and just kept fighting. I am really happy for our guys. I am really, really proud of them.”
Golden State’s largest lead of the first half came when Poole’s 3 made it 50-43. But Ball and Williamson made consecutive driving layups and Ball added a 3 to tie it at 50.
After Curry’s 3 and floater lifted the Warriors back in front, Williamson responded with a pair of contested inside baskets, the last on a drive across the lane to pull the Pelicans to 57-56 at halftime.
Warriors: Play their final six games at home starting Thursday night against Oklahoma City.
Pelicans: Begin a five-game road trip in Philadelphia on Friday.
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Brett Martel, The Associated Press
James scores 25, tweaks ankle as Lakers top Pelicans 110-98 .
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — LeBron James looked to be in playoff form when he hit deep 3s, delivered an accurate, no-look, behind-the-back pass out of a double team to Alex Caruso under the basket, or flipped an alley-oop lob to Anthony Davis while running a fast break. But when James used a spin move on the dribble to convert a lay-up against two defenders in the fourth quarter, he landed on Nickeil Alexander-Walker's foot, fell to the floor andBut when James used a spin move on the dribble to convert a lay-up against two defenders in the fourth quarter, he landed on Nickeil Alexander-Walker's foot, fell to the floor and remained on his back for several seconds before checking out of the game for good.