In a much-anticipated matchup of Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans on TNT on Thursday, the Pelicans had a golden opportunity late when they stole the ball down three and had a chance in transition to tie the game.
But rather than one of their many shooters launching from deep, the Pelicans played hot potato with the ball, with none of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram taking a three when they caught the ball, instead tossing it around the arc. Ingram eventually drove into the paint as the clock wound down, only to get called for a charge on Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo as he tried a pass to Zion Williamson, who was under the rim where a two wouldn’t really help.
Pelicans stole the ball and didn’t end up taking a shot pic.twitter.com/ghYNxuU53B
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 26, 2021
The mistake led to a wasted night for New Orleans, in which Williamson scored 34 points, Ingram put up 23, and Ball chipped in 20 of his own. There wasn’t much defense played in the game, but in the end, it was the Pelicans who played the best defense on themselves, shooting themselves in the foot by overthinking it and playing for a perfect shot that was never to come.
On the other hand, a hyper-efficient night for Antetokounmpo resulted in 38 points, and a momentary reprieve from his free-throw shooting woes helped seal the deal after this blown New Orleans possession. Milwaukee improved to 20-13 and scored a much-needed victory over the explosive Pelicans, who will be wondering what could’ve been had they gotten off a shot to force overtime.