Thursday, February 25

Pelicans seek another win over Raptors

The New Orleans Pelicans’ season got off to a good start when they went on the road And beat the Toronto Raptors in their first game.

The Raptors needed a few more chances before they got their first win.

The two teams will meet again when the Pelicans have a chance to host the season series finale on Saturday.

Toronto started quite well in Game 1, with a 57-50 lead at halftime, but was outscored 38-22 in the third quarter And lost 113-99 on December 23.

The Raptors followed that with losses to San Antonio And Philadelphia before grabbing the elusive first win against visiting New York, 100-83 on Thursday.

The 0-3 start was only the second in the history of a franchise that won the NBA championship two years ago And finished last season with a 53-19 record.

” It just feels good because that first win is hard to come by in any season,” said point guard Fred VanVleet, who led the way against the Knicks with 25 points. “Losing three in a row at any point in the season is not acceptable around here. Enough is enough. It was time for a win.”

Toronto coach Nick Nurse benched forward Pascal Sikkim, who left the court prematurely when he fouled late in their loss to the 76ers two nights earlier. The nurse described the “disciplinary” action as “internal” And did not elaborate.

The Raptors attacked the paint aggressively against the Knicks And that opened up three-point shooting opportunities. They took advantage by going 17 of 52 from beyond the arc, while the Knicks were just three of 36.

” I thought our guys did a better job attacking to put some pressure on the paint,” Nurse said.

New Orleans (3-2), which has alternated wins And losses in five games, beat host Oklahoma City 113-80 on Thursday. BrAndon Ingram scored 20 points to lead seven Pelicans in double figures despite being sent off in the third quarter after a flagrant foul.

” At the beginning of the year, we’re trying to get better,” first-year coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We have been fighting offensively, so it was good to see the ball go into the basket. It was good to score some points.”

The Pelicans, who rebounded the Raptors 45-35 in the first game, out rebounded the Thunder 58-40 as guard Josh Hart, who scored 12 points, came off the bench to grab 11 rebounds And the former center Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams added 14 points. And 10 rebounds.

” With BrAndon coming out, someone had to pick him up,” guard Eric Bledsoe said. ” I thought the whole team did.”

The Pelicans outscored the Thunder 28-7 in the fourth quarter, tying a franchise record for the fewest points allowed in a fourth quarter, And led by as many as 33 points.

” I think our defense was pretty good overall,” Van Gundy said. ” It was a good night And we have to keep moving forward. Matches come fast And furious here.”

This game kicks off a four-game home stay for New Orleans, which played four of its first five road games over a seven-day span.

–Field level media

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