Brandon Ingram had 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the first triple-double of his seven-year NBA career, leading the New Orleans Pelicans to a 115-96 victory over the short-handed Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night.
Ingram picked up three consecutive rebounds late in the third quarter to get to double-digits in that category. His 20-foot jumper and free throw put New Orleans up 88-79 with 36 seconds left in the third. The Pelicans’ 11-5 run to start the final quarter put the game away.
‘I just wanted to set the tone,’ said Ingram, who did exactly that by scoring 17 points and dishing out six assists in the first quarter. ‘These games are important for us to be in the postseason. I’m just thinking that every possession counts on offense and defense, and I had to have a sense of urgency.’
Pelicans coach Willie Green said Ingram makes the game seem so effortless that he did not realize he was close to his first career triple-double.
He said what makes the accomplishment even more special was Ingram´s ability to fight through 37 missed games with a sore toe and a concussion.
Pelicans Brandon Ingram (14) shoots past Charlotte Hornets Gordon Hayward (20) and JT Thor
‘I think it speaks to his maturity throughout this process,’ Green said. ‘He understands that he´s going to have the ball in his hands at times. He´s doing a great job of setting the tone, which is just (being a) point-5, passing to his teammates and getting guys open. His rebounding has been huge for us. He´s doing that – and then we all know he can score at any moment.
‘So on all three levels tonight, he was fantastic.’
Jonas Valanciunas scored 20 points and grabbed 19 rebounds for his 38th double-double of the season to help the Pelicans win their third in a row. C.J. McCollum added 20 points, Trey Murphy 19 and Naji Marshall had 16 off the bench.
P.J. Washington scored 18 points, including 16 in the first half for Charlotte. Svi Mykhailiuk had 15 points and Gordon Hayward 12 points.
The Hornets stayed close by shooting 53 percent from the floor (24 of 45) heading into halftime. But Kelly Oubre exited in the second quarter with a right shoulder strain after scoring 8 points in 12 minutes. Charlotte guard Terry Rozier left with a sore right foot after scoring 5 points.
In the fourth quarter, the Hornets were tired and down to just seven healthy players.
‘The hard thing was it´s hard to not play without Gordon – and he can´t play every minute,’ Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. ‘That kind of hurt us and we got disorganized, and frankly we made some mistakes.’
Ingram’s first-quarter blitz helped New Orleans open a 37-24 lead, but the Hornets used a 33-25 second quarter to cut the halftime deficit to 62-57. Ingram had 19 points and nine assists in the first half.
The Pelicans held the Hornets to 39 second-half points.
Ingram said he was grateful his revived play is coming at the perfect time for the Pelicans, who now embark on a critical four-game road trip.
‘I’m grateful to be out here playing with my teammates, having a chance to be on the floor every single day now in practice,’ Ingram said. ‘I don’t take it for granted. Going those 30 games without being on the floor, you try to find ways to stay with the team, try to find ways to stay positive. And this is not always easy. So being on the floor now, I just I’m super excited and happy.’
Ingram scores and draws a foul on shot as Hornets guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Nick Richards
MAGIC 111, KNICKS 106
Paolo Banchero scored 21 points, included a 3-pointer with 1:26 remaining and two free throws in the final seconds, to help the Orlando Magic beat the New York Knicks 111-106 on Thursday night.
Cole Anthony added 18 points for Orlando and Wendell Carter Jr. had 16 points and eight rebounds. Franz Wagner scored 16 points before leaving in the fourth quarter with ankle injury.
Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley each scored 25 points for the Knicks, who lost their third straight. Julius Randle finished with 23 points and nine rebounds.
With Jalen Brunson out with an injury and Randle on the bench, the Knicks went almost 5 1/2 minutes without scoring in the second quarter and fell behind by 19 points.
Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero tries to dunk over New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein
CAVALIERS 116, NETS 114
Isaac Okoro hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 0.7 seconds remaining and finished with 11 points as Cleveland sent Brooklyn to its fifth straight loss.
Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points, Evan Mobley had 26 points and 16 rebounds and Jarrett Allen finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds against his former team. Cleveland won for the eighth time in 10 games.
Mikal Bridges scored 32 points, Spencer Dinwiddie had 25 points and 12 assists and Joe Harris hit five 3-pointers and finished with 15 points as the Nets lost their fifth straight game.
Cleveland trailed 112-104 with 2:13 left before closing the game on a 12-2 run. Trailing by one, Mitchell missed the a second free throw that would´ve tied the game. But the ball bounced to Okoro in the corner, who drained the 3-pointer to give Cleveland the lead. A heave from half court by Bridges at the buzzer fell short.
Cavs Cavaliers Isaac Okoro celebrates with teammates Cedi Osman and Donovan Mitchell
CLIPPERS 127, THUNDER 105
The Los Angeles Clippers put together a strong showing in the win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in large part thanks to Kawhi Leonard’s 32 points. Leonard shot a highly efficient 13-15 from the field and 3-4 from the foul line.
Russell Westbrook also put together a strong evening and score 24 points to make up for an injured Paul George.
Shai-Gilgeous-Alexander led the way for the Thunder by scoring 30points.
LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard goes to the basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder
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