January 31, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

NBA Pelicans drop Grizzlies while Mavericks beat Clippers

New Orleans Pelicans’ CJ McCollum #3 drives to the basket during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on November 15, 2022 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE/Getty Images/Getty Images via AFP)

WASHINGTON, U.S. (AFP) — CJ McCollum posted a season-high 30 points while reserves Larry Nance Jr. and Jose Alvarado were instrumental in defeating New Orleans 113-102 to Memphis in an NBA game on Tuesday.

McCollum made 11 of 23 shots from the floor, 7 of 13 from 3-point range and passed nine assists as the Pelicans improved to 8-6, just behind Memphis (9-6) in the Western Conference.

“I was just trying to be aggressive, to take the chances,” said McCollum, who had 22 points in the second half. “I’ve been in the gym a lot trying to work on my basics and throwing discipline and tonight that continued.

“I’ve gotten a lot of great looks all season, I haven’t blown them away. I just wanted to focus on work and it paid off.”

Ja Morant posted a game-high 36 points and led Memphis, but when he went on the bench late in the third quarter and the Grizzlies led 86-85, the Pelicans took over.

New Orleans went on a 15-5 run with Morant resting and extended the sprint to 19-5 for a 104-91 edge with 6:12 remaining, Alvarado scored five on the run and Nance and McCollum added four each added.

Nance finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots while Alvarado had 12 points and six assists.

The Pelicans, one of the NBA’s worst 3-point shooting clubs, went 18 of 38 from beyond the arc, aided by coach Willie Green’s direction and confident shots to the basket to win defenders and turn passes to the outside when none shot developed.

“The coach put a lot of emphasis on the early easy pass and made sure the guys had a shot ready,” McCollum said. “The boys were in the gym a lot working on catch and shoot threesomes and tonight we shot them.

“Anytime we force our way into paint, we have to use our good judgment. It’s a credit to the guys making the right pass and making the right play.”

Memphis forward Jaren Jackson Jr. made his season debut after undergoing right foot surgery after the 2022 playoffs, contributing seven points, six rebounds and five blocked shots.

Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson missed the game with a bruised right foot.

The Grizzlies said Tuesday they will go two to three weeks without guard Desmond Bane with a sprained right big toe. Bane is averaging career-highs of 24.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists, a game with the best shooting percentages of his career from the ground and from 3-point range.

– Maverick’s edger –
In Dallas, Luka Doncic had game highs of 35 points and 11 rebounds to spark the hosts Mavericks against the Los Angeles Clippers 103-101.

Dorian Finney-Smith’s 3-pointers lifted Dallas’ level to 93-93 with 2:50 remaining in the fourth quarter. Then Dwight Powell stole the ball and set up Reggie Bullock’s 3-pointer that put the Mavericks 96-93 ahead by 2:02.

Bullock added another 3-pointer after a Clippers turnover to give Dallas a 99-93 lead with 91 seconds left.

Nicolas Batum responded with a 3-pointer for the Clippers and Paul George added a layup to win the visitors within 99-98 by 51 seconds.

Doncic sank a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left to extend Dallas’ lead to 102-98. George responded to a layup with 18 seconds to play and Bullock made just 1 of 2 free throws with 7.3 seconds to play to make it 103-100 as the Clippers looked for a 3-pointer to equalize.

Instead, the Mavs fouled Batum and he grabbed a free throw and then missed another, but Dallas grabbed the rebound and ran out the final seconds to secure the win.

George led the Clippers with 23 points and Batum had 22 while Finney-Smith added 21 for Dallas.

© Agence France-Presse