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Short-handed Pelicans come up big against Pacers

Dec 26, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana,  USA;  New Orleans Pelicans guard Devonte' Graham (4) reacts to making a three point basket against Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte (3) during the first half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Jonas Valanciunas had 20 points and 12 rebounds and the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans routed the visiting Indiana Pacers 113-93 on Monday night.

Naji Marshall added a career-high 22 points, CJ McCollum scored 19, Jaxson Hayes had 15 and Devonte’ Graham 11 to supplement Valanciunas’ 300th career double-double.

The Pelicans played without their top two scorers — Zion Williamson (illness) and Brandon Ingram (toe) — as well as another starter in Herbert Jones Jr. (health and safety protocols) and two key subs, Trey Murphy III (non-COVID illness) and Dyson Daniels (non-COVID illness).

New Orleans had 26 points on 16 offensive rebounds while Indiana had eight points on six offensive rebounds.

The Pelicans used all 10 players that were available and nine of them scored.

Bennedict Mathurin scored 15 points, Myles Turner scored 14, Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield had 12 each and Aaron Nesmith added 10 to lead the Pacers.

New Orleans gained a split of the season series after losing at Indiana 129-122 on Nov. 7. The Pelicans began a three-game homestand as the Pacers completed a three-game road trip.

Valanciunas and Hayes scored four points each as the Pelicans began the third quarter with a 17-7 spurt that gave them a 74-45 lead, which would be their largest of the game.

New Orleans made seven of 13 3-pointers in the period and held a 90-62 lead entering the fourth period.

The Pacers used a 10-0 run to take an early 16-6 lead as the Pelicans made just three baskets in the first six minutes.

But New Orleans finished on a 15-0 run to take a 24-18 lead at the end of the first quarter despite making just one of 11 3-pointers in the period.

Indiana pulled within four points twice early in the second quarter, but Willy Hernangomez scored seven during a 16-0 run that gave the Pelicans a 43-23 lead.

The Pelicans increased the lead to as many as 23 points twice before holding a 57-38 halftime lead.

The 38 points were the fewest allowed by New Orleans in any half this season.

–Field Level Media