The New Orleans Pelicans fought off the Memphis Grizzlies with a 109-99 win on Monday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Rookie Zion Williamson scored 23 points, with six down the stretch to help the Pelicans hold off the Grizzlies.
Williamson, who in the first two games after leagues restart played only for combined 29 minutes, took to the court for 25 minutes on Monday. He had earlier left the NBA's "bubble" to attend to a family emergency.
First Win Since the Restart
New Orleans (29-38) won for the first time in the restart to tighten the battle for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies (32-36) fell to 0-3 in the restart and saw their hold on eighth place continue to shrink.
Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans with 24 points, JJ Redick had 16, and Josh Hart and Jrue Holiday scored 15 each. Jaren Jackson Jr. led Memphis with 22 points, Grayson Allen scored 17 (all in the first half), Dillon Brooks scored 15, Jonas Valanciunas had 13 points and 13 rebounds, Ja Morant added 11 points and Brandon Clarke had 10.
Morant shot 5 of 21 from the floor and 1 of 10 from 3-point range. The Pelicans led by seven at halftime and increased the edge to 11 points twice early in the third quarter before the Grizzlies rallied. Memphis pulled even at 65 on Brooks' jumper, and moments later he hit a 3-pointer to give the Grizzlies a one-point lead.
Keeping the Lead Intact
Hart made two 3-pointers as New Orleans took a 79-74 lead at the end of the third quarter. Five straight points by Redick gave the Pelicans an 88-78 lead early in the fourth quarter. Jackson scored eight straight Grizzlies points as Memphis got within 92-88. Ingram made a 3-pointer and another basket to give New Orleans a 97-90 lead.
Holiday scored seven points and Williamson five as New Orleans took a quick 19-8 lead on its way to a 26-22 edge at the end of the period. Lonzo Ball made a 3-pointer to give the Pelicans their biggest lead of the half at 39-28. Memphis got within four points twice before New Orleans took a 58-51 halftime lead.
(With inputs from agencies)