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Pelicans looking for growth during visit to Pacers

Oct 14, 2022; Birmingham, Alabama, USA; New Orleans Pelicans head coach Willie Green walks to the bench against the Atlanta Hawks in the third quarter at Legacy Arena at BJCC. Mandatory Credit: Larry Robinson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Larry Robinson-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans are doing well during regulation.

In overtime, not so much.

They will try to take care of business in four quarters when they visit the Indiana Pacers on Monday.

The Pelicans are 4-1 in games decided in regulation, but they’ve lost all three games that have gone into overtime, including a 124-121 loss at Atlanta on Saturday.

“We’ve got to grow,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said. “At the end of the day, the game is going to come down to getting stops and executing offensively. We start the overtime with the turnover. We missed a layup with a chance to tie the game in overtime. There are things that we can clean up, but our execution has to be better.”

The loss to the Hawks came one night after a 114-105 home victory against the short-handed Golden State Warriors.

“I thought we had plenty of opportunities to win the game,” Green said. “We just couldn’t do enough. On a back-to-back, we battled all night. Proud of our effort. We have to tighten some things up, some little things, and be better.”

The loss to the Hawks completed a stretch of three games in four days, which began with a 120-117 overtime road loss against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

The Lakers forced OT on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer and the Hawks forced overtime on a Dejounte Murray jumper with 4.1 seconds left after the Pelicans overcame a 13-point deficit with less than five minutes remaining.

The Pacers, meanwhile, needed a last-second defensive stop in order to avoid overtime or a loss when they held on to beat the visiting Miami Heat 101-99 on Friday.

It was Indiana’s best defensive performance of the season as it allowed season-lows in points and field-goal percentage (38.3). The Pacers forced 19 turnovers and held the Heat without a field goal for the final 5:35.

The exclamation point came when Pacers rookie Andrew Nembhard forced Tyler Herro to miss a 3-pointer on the final possession.

“He’s tough,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said of Nembhard. “When you put a rookie on Tyler Herro on the last play of the game with a pretty good idea the ball’s going to go to him, and he makes that kind of a defensive stand and makes him shoot a falling-away, contested, difficult 3-point shot and he does it without fouling — that’s strong.”

Indiana was short-handed in the backcourt. Aaron Nesmith was out because of a foot injury and Chris Duarte sprained his left ankle midway through the first quarter and didn’t return. Nesmith is questionable for Monday and Duarte reportedly will miss four to six weeks.

The absences forced Carlisle to play two and sometimes three point guards — Nembhard, T.J. McConnell and Tyrese Haliburton — at the same time.

“I think it’s just three high-level IQ guys that know how to make the right play,” Haliburton said. “Those two understand when I’m on the floor that I want to bring it up, and that’s what they’re accustomed to doing, and they’re figuring out how to play off the ball, and I’m understanding that they know how to bring up the ball, so I’m more comfortable coming off it.”

–Field Level Media