No lead is safe in the NBA. And on Jan. . 4, the New Orleans Pelicans found out the hard way.
The Pelicans passed a ruling on 118-116 overtime hours to the Indiana Pacers on Monday evening. Every loss is bad, but this one was especially bad.
New Orleans played Indiana most of the night, leading the club a little more than two minutes to a 10-point lead. From then on, however, it got ugly.
Together the team would miss the last five shots from the field in regulation. After closing the gap to just three points, Victor Oladipo forced Lonzo Ball into a turnover that allowed the Pacers to equalize – a 26-foot three-point bomb from Myles Turner that knotted the contest, 106-106.
Brandon Ingram’s Summer Beater couldn’t find the bottom of the net and the game went into overtime.
There the teams fought back and forth, with Ball connecting the game with a little more than 25 seconds remaining. After the game’s fateful possession of the ball, Malcolm Brogdon allied up on a running 12-foot boat by a little over three seconds to give the Pacers the all-important 118-116 pillow.
With no more timeouts, a pass came from Ball to Zion Williamson after the time ran out.
Brandon Ingram (31 points, four rebounds, eight assists) and Zion Williamson (24 points, 10 rebounds) continue to lead the Pelicans, but like all five on the team they had tons of help starters in the double digits on Monday night.
Steven Adams had one try with 10 points and eight ricochets. Eric Bledsoe contributed 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Lonzo Ball had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists.
The pelicans were playing well enough to win and seemed to have the game in hand when a pair of free throws from Brandon Ingram gave the club what appeared to be a comfortable pillow.
With 2:22 in the competition and the Pelicans at 106-96, victory seemed to be within reach, but Stan Van Gundy’s team finally managed to bring defeat out of the jaws of victory.
The combination of porous defense, cold shooting and a critical turnover gave the Pacers every opportunity to end the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run that forced overtime.
In extra time, which was significantly revived by the comeback, Myles Turner and Victor Oladipo scored 10 of the 12 points for the Pacers. The other two were scored by Malcolm Brogdon, who broke the last game by just over three seconds ahead.
If nothing else, the pelicans have learned a valuable lesson – in the NBA, you have to play every 48 minutes.
Ball showed an all-round strong performance with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists. While making four turnovers, he linked four of his six three-point attempts.
Unfortunately, one will remember what Ball failed to do: deal with the basketball.
Despite all the back-and-forth and heroics of the Pacers on the track, with less than one possession in the competition, Ball had the ball stolen from Victor Oladipo. That gave the Pacers a chance to tie the game, and that’s exactly what they did with a deep bomb from Myles Turner.
Moke Hamilton is a writer and columnist for the USA’s TODAY Sports Media Group’s NBA Wire. Moke is based in New York City and served the NBA for seven years. He previously worked for Turner Sports and NBC Universal. He can be heard from time to time on the radio waves from 98. 7FM ESPN New York.
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New Orleans Pelicans, Indiana Pacers, Malcolm Brogdon, Victor Oladipo, NBA, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball
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