New Orleans Pelicans 115-113 in the NBA 2023-24 regular season game held at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana on the 20th

Morant made a brilliant comeback with 34 points, six rebounds, and eight assists, and Jaren Jackson Jr. helped him with 24 points, six rebounds, and three blocks. New Orleans, which suffered a come-from-behind defeat, was divided by Brandon Ingram with 34 points, four rebounds, and six assists, Balencunas with 22 points and 14 rebounds, and C.J. McCollum with 18 points and six assists, including six three-point shots.

Morant, who returned from disciplinary action, played in Memphis, the away team, and New Orleans, the home team, played all the main players except Larry Lance Jr.

From the first quarter, Morant played an outstanding role. Despite being bombed by Balencunas, Morant balanced with Jackson Jr. New Orleans failed to completely fill the void left by Zion, who was already mired in foul trouble early on. Memphis came from behind with eight consecutive points by Santi Aldama, who came off the bench, and finished the first quarter with a 25-21 lead.

Zion targeted Memphis’ weak defense after being forced to rest, while Valenschnas also took advantage of his high advantage to accumulate points in the paint zone. On top of that, New Orleans quickly raced through a 23-0 run as McCollum and Inkram alternately succeeded in their attacks. Memphis, which showed the worst competitiveness in a section without Morant, allowed Cody Zeller to score consecutive points and blocks. Then, New Orleans led 60-41 and headed to the locker room.

However, Memphis with Morant exceeded expectations. Morant not only continued his two-man game with Beyoncé, but also attacked New Orleans’ defense with a quick goal. On top of that, Jackson Jr. blocked New Orleans’ attacks several times, and Memphis quickly narrowed the score to two positions. However, Memphis failed to solve the fundamental front-court depth problem and lost 87-77 to end the quarter with no control over Valencia and Ingram.

In the fourth quarter, I wondered if the New Orleans players’ outer shots would explode, but Jackson Jr.’s concentrated attack under the basket and Morant’s organic ball flow led to a close race. Memphis, which finally succeeded in chasing by two points with consecutive breakthrough points by Morant and Bain, was hit by Ingram with two pull-up jumpers, but Jackson Jr. scored both outer shots and Morant scored free throws, leading to the chase under his chin.

Then, Ingram, the savior of New Orleans, missed a foul-acquired free throw, but he also made defensive efforts by enduring Jackson Jr.’s pumping. Morant, who made a mistake with the ball spilling in the previous position, also recovered by cutting an A-pass to Ingram. Jackson Jr.’s free throw led to the tie.

Morant added points with a mid-range jumper and a breakthrough after he perfectly beat his opponent in an isolation situation. However, New Orleans also found balance when Balencunas scored a putback and Herb Jones scored a breakthrough. McCollum’s remorseful shot 13 seconds before the end of the game did not go in, and Morant attempted a quick attack, but manager Jenkinson stopped the flow due to operational time.

However, this led to Morant’s come-from-behind buzzer-beater score, and Memphis won 115-113 against New Orleans.


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