Pelicans Blow Lead, Lose Tight Game To Grizzlies
New Orleans (26-38) played solid basketball for 3 quarters, despite not having several key players. Anthony Davis was superb, giving the Pelicans a 7 point lead heading into the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, Mike Conley and Memphis (38-26) turned up their defense and halfcourt offense late, and the Pelicans couldn’t hang on, falling to the Grizzlies 90-88. Memphis ended the game on a 9-0 run.
The Pelicans were without both Eric Gordon (illness) and Tyreke Evans (illness), yet were able to play well before blowing it in the 4th quarter.
Davis finished with a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds to acquire his 31rst double-double of the season.
Austin Rivers played well with increased minutes (28), scoring 14 and dishing out 4 assists.
“It’s tough. We felt like we had this game won,” said Rivers. “Those guys are a veteran team that has been in that position a million times. When you have a team down like that, you have to continue to execute.”
Memphis point guard Mike Conley executed just fine down the stretch, including on the Grizzlies final offensive possession. With the game tied at 88, Conley hit a driving layup on Rivers, giving Memphis the 2 point lead with 1.5 seconds left. Without any timeouts, the Pelicans could only inbound the ball and jack up a long-range shot that wasn’t close.
It was sloppy at times for New Orleans, who turned it over 17 times. Credit a stout Memphis defense for many of those.
The loss wastes a perfect night for the Pelicans at the charity stripe, where they were a perfect 22-22 from the free throw line.
New Orleans won the season series with Memphis 3 to 1, but couldn’t complete the season sweep.
Next up, the Pelicans host the Portland Trail Blazers (42-23) Friday night. Tip-off is set for 7:00.