NEW ORLEANS — Brandon Ingram scored 30 points, CJ McCollum added 21 and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Atlanta Hawks 116-107 on Tuesday night for their third straight victory.
For Atlanta, they finished their road trip with a 2-3 record. Given the fact this five game road trip had the team playing in Portland, Phoenix, plus a back-to-back situation in Utah and Denver prior to playing in The Big Easy, it would have been within reason for the Hawks to mail it in once being down 12-2 in the opening minutes of the first quarter.
“They established their pace from the start of the game,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “We didn’t win a quarter. They were averaging 30-plus each quarter. They got to their tempo, they played their game tonight. We weren’t able to keep them out of the paint. They had 38 in the first half and 60 for the game. There’s just not controlling the basketball and keeping it in front of us — 29 fastbreak points and we only had nine turnovers. They are scoring off of misses and made baskets. It seemed like we had heavy legs — those three days off — seemed like we had heavy legs all night long and were not able to control the basketball and keep it out of the paint.”
Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Hawks with 22 points while Trae Young added 16 points and 16 assists.
“They won the hustle game,” McMillan continued. “Every loose ball, every long rebound, it seemed like they got and we just seemed to be a step slow throughout the night.”
Speaking of hustle, Georgia Tech product Jose Alvarado sparked the Pelicans with tenacious defense, excellent court vision and precise passing. While only scoring six points on two made threes, Alvarado’s play was emblematic of how New Orleans loves to play. The Pelicans dominated the Hawks by out-scoring Atlanta in the painted area (56-40), in second chance points (22-7), and fast break points (17-8). Notably, Jonas Valanciunas of New Orleans had 14 rebounds, the most of any player on the night.
De’Andre Hunter finished the game with only three points, without making any baskets on nine attempts in 27 minutes of action.
“This is a tough team, a tough place to win,” Bogdanovic said. “They’re finding their groove back and now they’re different than a couple games ago.
“I’m proud of the way we fight. We found the energy to fight,” Bogdanovic added. “I’m not happy with the way we finished the road trip.”
Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson did not play due an injury to his right hamstring. It is unclear if he’ll return before the All-Star Break.
Atlanta returns home Thursday night to face Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns.