The New Orleans Pelicans have been led by a former five-star from Duke this season, but it hasn’t been the one everyone anticipated. While Zion Williamson has worked his way back from the surgery he needed before the year started, Brandon Ingram has been immense, looking like one of the league’s most lethal scorers. His ability to put the ball through the rim was on display on Thursday night, and thanks to his efforts, the Pelicans were able to snap the Utah Jazz’s 10-game winning streak.
Ingram dropped a career-high 49 points, breaking his previous career-best mark of 40, which he set earlier this season. Ingram had it going all over the floor, going 15-for-25 from the field, 3-for-8 from three, and 16-for-20 from the free throw line. He was hailed as a potentially devastating scorer during his collegiate days, and while he’s shown major progress on that front in New Orleans, Thursday night was his masterpiece.
— NBA (@NBA) January 17, 2020
As you can see late in that video, Ingram hit an apparent dagger with 0.2 seconds left in regulation. Despite the fact he was falling to his right, Ingram pulled up and hit a dagger in Royce O’Neale’s eye to put the Pels up by one. On Utah’s ensuing possession, a lob attempt to Rudy Gobert was unsuccessful, but the referees called a controversial foul on Jaxson Hayes. Gobert would go on to hit one of his two shots from the line and force an extra frame.
Rudy Gobert draws the foul and makes one of two free throws to send the game into overtime 🤯 pic.twitter.com/e5XpCbEtMT
— ClutchPoints NBA (@ClutchPointsNBA) January 17, 2020
Ingram had five points, all on free throws, in overtime, and during his penultimate trip to the stripe, he got some serious love from the New Orleans faithful.
New Orleans: "MVP MVP MVP"@JoelMeyersNBA: When's the last time we heard MVP [Chants] in this building? It's been a while. We know we didn't hear to last year.
— Locked On NBA Podcasts (@LockedOnNBANet) January 17, 2020
In a testament to how good Ingram was, one of his teammates, Lonzo Ball, made it a point to run back to the locker room at the conclusion of the game and advocate for Ingram to make the All-Star Game.
— Lonzo Ball (@ZO2_) January 17, 2020
Even if he does not make it to Chicago, Ingram has been magnificent this season and painted his masterpiece on Thursday. New Orleans now sits at 16-26, which puts them 3.5 games back of the eight-seed in the Western Conference. With Ingram playing like this and Williamson set to return in less than a week, it’s not hard to imagine the Pelicans mounting a late-season charge for a postseason berth.