The Boston Celtics found themselves on the comeback trail most of the second half on Sunday, with a pathway toward success remaining elusive all night as the New Orleans Pelicans got a much-needed 108-89 win over the Boston Celtics.
MVP candidate Anthony Davis had another huge game against the Celtics as he tallied 34 points and 11 rebounds.
Boston (47-23) has now lost three of its last four games, while the Pelicans (40-30) are hoping Sunday’s victory will jumpstart them after losing four of their previous five games prior to Sunday night’s victory.
The game’s turning point came in the fourth quarter when Boston’s Abdel Nader was fouled on a 3-point attempt with Boston trailing 82-76.
On the play, New Orleans head coach Alvin Gentry was whistled for a technical foul.
Nader, a 72.0 percent free throw shooter this season, missed all four – yes, all four – free throws.
New Orleans responded with a 10-3 run and their control of the game was never an issue afterwards.
It was indeed a tale of two different halves as New Orleans opened the third quarter with an 11-3 run to lead 58-52.
The Pelicans continued to soldier on as their lead peaked at 11 points following a free throw by Davis made it a 76-65 game.
Boston was able to cut into New Orleans’ lead but still trailed 82-76 going into the fourth quarter.
The ending was in stark contrast to how the night began for Boston.
The Celtics continued their run of strong starts to games, with an 8-0 run which sucked for the New Orleans Pelicans fans who stood on their feet until New Orleans finally scored on a lay-up by ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo with 8:35 to play in the first.
That would be the catalyst for a much-needed spurt by the Pelicans which brought then within 10-8.
But Boston didn’t waste any time putting some distance between the team and New Orleans as the Celtics maintained a comfortable 28-20 lead at the end of the first quarter which extended Boston’s run of leads after one quarter of play, to nine in a row and 11 of the last 12.
The second quarter proved to be a much tighter affair for the Celtics as the Pelicans took their first lead of the game, 43-42, on a lob dunk by Davis.
New Orleans lead didn’t last long as Boston closed out the quarter by scoring seven of the game’s last 11 points to lead 49-47 at the half.
Despite having a patchwork lineup because of injuries, Boston still managed to spend most of the game playing with a lead. Fill-in starter Marcus Morris was a matchup nightmare for the Pelicans as the 6-foot-9 forward had 14 points in the first half.
Boston also got a strong first half from Jayson Tatum who led all Celtics with 15 points in the first half, and a team-high 23 for the game.