NEW ORLEANS (AP)Between his driving tomahawk jams and 3-pointers, Brandon Ingram tossed an alley-oop lob to rookie center Jackson Hayes and found Derrick Favors cutting into the lane for a transition dunk.
Ingram had 29 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated Chicago 123-108 on Wednesday night to drop the Bulls to a fifth straight loss.
”Just coming in and trying to do everything that I work on in practice in my routines,” Ingram said. ”My teammates have been doing a really, really good job of just being the best version of themselves. They help me out so much and we just mesh together so well.”
The game merely added to the career season Ingram, now in his fourth season out of Duke, has been putting together since being traded by the Lakers as part of a pre-draft deal that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles.
In addition to being only a point shy of his ninth 30-point game this season, Ingram was just two rebounds short of his first career triple-double.
”As long as we got the win is all that matters,” Ingram said, forecasting that his next chance to hit double digits in three main statistical categories will ”come back again soon.”
JJ Redick hit six 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, while Hayes had 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to help the Pelicans win for the seventh time in 10 games.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Hayes had ”one of this better games, really, overall from the standpoint of trying to do exactly what we ask him to do.”
The 6-foot-11 Hayes also continued to rev up the crowd with his above the rim athleticism, be it on a transition dunk or his rejection of Coby White’s layup attempt in the final seconds of the third quarter.
”The spectacular plays are really what fans like to see and he’s a guy that’s a great leaper, he blocks some shots, he’ll have a dunk every now and then,” Gentry continued. ”But we talk to him about being solid and doing exactly what we’re supposed to do defensively.”
Zach LaVine scored 32 for the Bulls, who are in the midst of their longest losing streak this season. Thaddeus Young scored 18 in his return to the city where he was born.
Chicago led by six early in the third quarter before New Orleans went on a 15-3 run that put the Pelicans in front for good. Ingram scored nine during that surge, starting it with a 3, adding another from deep and then hitting three free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.
The Bulls have been vulnerable to third-quarter lapses this season, and Chicago forward Kris Dunn seemed to think the issue is more mental and emotional than schematic.
”We’ve got to be men about it. It is basketball. It is a game of runs,” said Dunn, who scored 15 points. ”Things happen and you have to be able to withstand it and fight through adversity.”
But there was little fight left in the Bulls by the fourth quarter, when New Orleans widened its lead to as many as 21 points.
”It was disappointing,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. ”We missed a few assignments and they went on a roll and we couldn’t recover.”
Bulls: Lauri Markkanen scored 14. … LaVine scored at least 25 for the 19th time this season and eclipsed 30 for the ninth time. … The Bulls came in forcing league best 18.3 turnovers per game and failed to hit that mark against New Orleans, which committed 14 turnovers. … Chicago had 10 offensive rebounds, the ninth straight game it had at least that many.
Pelicans: Were without guard Jrue Holiday (left elbow bruise), the club’s second-leading scorer (19.6 points per game) for a second straight game. … Josh Hart, who started for Holiday, scored 13 points. Lonzo Ball and Nickiell Alexander-Walker each scored 11. … Ingram made 11 of 12 free throws, but missed his first of the night, snapping a streak of 36 straight makes from the foul line since the fourth quarter of a game at Golden State on Dec. 20.
For a second straight game, Hayes and fellow rookie Alexander-Walker ran a pick-and-roll on the right side of the floor that resulted in Alexander-Walker floating up an alley-oop lob that Hayes dunked. Against Utah on Monday night, Hayes finished by grabbing the ball with his right hand and slamming it down in one motion. Against the Bulls, he caught it while twisting in the air and finished with a two-handed reverse jam.
”It’s exciting,” Alexander-Walker said. ”You get like this little burst of energy because of our relationship off the court and our chemistry on the court – having fun.”
Bulls: Host Indiana on Friday night.
Pelicans: Visit New York on Friday night.
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