02/23/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/23/2020 22:12
SAN FRANCISCO - Nicolo Melli couldn't miss. After a rough first half for him and his team in general, Jrue Holiday couldn't be stopped.
For one half of basketball Sunday, host Golden State looked like a real threat to continue its uncanny success against New Orleans this season. Ultimately however, New Orleans' duo of Melli and Holiday restored order and thwarted an upset bid by the 12-win Warriors. Golden State led by 10 at intermission and was tied at 77 through three quarters, but Melli's near-perfect three-point shooting and Holiday's attacking offense pushed New Orleans into a comfortable lead.
New Orleans sliced another half game off its deficit behind eighth-place Memphis, now 3.5 games back of the Grizzlies. That gap was 5.5 during the All-Star break.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Brandon Ingram's driving layup with 4:13 left gave New Orleans a 14-point lead, putting the Pelicans in optimal position to improve to 2-0 on its three-game road trip and win for the 11th time in their last 14 away contests. After sustaining a frustrating Dec. 20 defeat in the same building, it was New Orleans' first victory at the new Chase Center. The Pelicans head to Los Angeles tonight and will visit the Lakers on Tuesday in a compelling TNT game.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Zion Williamson was absolutely vital in the first half, one of the only Pelicans who had a productive opening 24 minutes. The Pelicans were relentless in feeding him the ball or seeking him above the rim for alley oops, resulting in a 28-point outing. Williamson was 13/20 from the field and gave the Warriors fits on post-ups or soaring slams.
BY THE NUMBERS
0.5: New Orleans lead on San Antonio in the Western Conference standings, after the Pelicans prevailed in San Francisco and the Spurs were pounded at Oklahoma City.
The All-Star break created an abbreviated Week 17 and Week 18 for New Orleans, so the normally weekly honor was combined over a four-game span. Regardless of how the schedule was laid out, Zion Williamson was a lock to receive the most votes, entering Sunday's game averaging 29.3 points in recent matchups with Portland (twice) and Oklahoma City. The No. 1 overall draft pick garnered about 80 percent of the votes, besting a field of nominees Josh Hart, Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick, all of whom have performed very well in the month of February.
Week 1-3: Brandon Ingram
Week 4: Jrue Holiday
Week 5-9: Brandon Ingram
Week 10: Derrick Favors
Week 11-12: Lonzo Ball
Week 13: Brandon Ingram
Week 14-15: Zion Williamson
Week 16: JJ Redick