Sun, 22 May 2022

Pelicans look to remain hot at home as Pacers invade

Field Level Media
24 Jan 2022, 05:55 GMT+10

The New Orleans Pelicans have been difficult to beat at home lately.

The Indiana Pacers will have to do just that on Monday night if they're going to finish their five-game road trip with a winning record.

The Pelicans, who are returning from a 1-2 road trip, have won their last three home games and seven of their last nine at home.

After double-digit losses at Brooklyn and Boston to start their road trip, New Orleans finished on a winning note by defeating the Knicks 102-91 on Thursday night in New York.

Josh Hart, who had 17 points as one of six double-figure scorers for New Orleans, called it "definitely a must-win."

"We kind of laid an egg in Brooklyn and in Boston we should have won and let that game get away," Hart said. "It was good to come out here with the energy that we had and get a win like this. Now we have to ready, healthy, rested and come back on Monday."

The Pelicans don't know if they will have leading scorer Brandon Ingram on Monday. Ingram turned his right ankle against the Knicks and sat out the fourth quarter. He's day to day.

Rookie guard Jose Alvarado played a season-high 20 minutes and had season highs of 13 points and four steals. His four assists were one short of another season high.

Alvarado has emerged as a dependable backup to Devonte' Graham since Kira Lewis Jr. was lost for the rest of the season because of a knee injury suffered last month.

"Every game I learn something new," Alvarado said.

The short-handed Pacers began their road trip with a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, then beat the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors before losing to the Phoenix Suns 113-103 on Saturday night.

Phoenix led by just five points at halftime, scored the first eight points of the second half and led by 18 points at the end of the third quarter.

"They came out with a lot of force (in the third quarter)," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "They saw how we were able to hang around in the previous two games, and I think they took it upon themselves to try to create some separation and they did.

"This group right now, the way we're constructed with the guys that we have out, we've got to be gritty and tough and resourceful."

The Pacers played without their top three scorers -- Domantas Sabonis (ankle), Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles) and Caris LeVert (sore right calf).

Carlisle said Sabonis won't play against the Pelicans, Brogdon is out at least through the end of the month and LeVert is day to day.

In their absence against the Suns, Chris Duarte and Lance Stephenson scored 17 points each and Goga Bitadze added 16 points and 11 rebounds for his second career double-double. Bitadze played a career-high 35 minutes after playing very little for most of the season.

"It's a lot, from not playing to going 35 minutes," the 22-year-old Bitadze said, "but I'm just blessed to have the opportunity. It's really fun to be out there and play together and hustle together on the floor. Even if I'm tired, I'm not gonna ask for a sub because I gotta play through it because my team needs me."

--Field Level Media

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