Pelicans Make Statement with Victory Over Bucks: Determined to Secure Home Court Advantage in Playoffs

The Pelicans remain determined to have a home court factor in the first round. With the Clippers transmitting doubts ahead and the Mavericks at a hellish hunting pace behind, those from New Orleans have a double incentive to go all out in the fight for fourth place in the West, and they showed it in the visit of the Bucks to Smoothie King Center. Willie Green’s team won 107-100, a result that brings them back to victory and places them just half a game away from fourth place.

The locals sustained the victory in an excellent second quarter, in which with the help of CJ McCollum and Jonas Valanciunas, who added 11 points each in this section, they opened the advantage from which they would live all night. The 52-34 score established an 18-point difference on the scoreboard, which became the maximum of the match, and although Milwaukee tried to fight throughout the second half to close the gap, the Pelicans always had an answer for each of their attempts.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, however, came close to accomplishing the feat with a devastating third quarter. The Greek, who had little support throughout the night, tried to change the direction of the match by scoring 20 consecutive points, with which he closed the distance to 74-71 and made the visitors believe. However, this only served to warn those from Louisiana, and specifically a Zion Williamson who was not willing to allow the comeback.

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The power forward finished the match with 28 points, of which 11 came in a final quarter in which his aggressiveness attacking the rim and forcing fouls became decisive. Zion traveled to the line 9 times, finding a way to give his team a constant source of scoring when the Bucks’ defense tightened the most. Without excessive brilliance but with the consistency that the situation required, he made the team always maintain a cushion and prevent the distance from closing more than necessary, which allowed them to add their 45th victory of the course with some calm.

Giannis, already exhausted after his emergence in the third, was much more discreet in the final quarter, in which Damian Lillard tried to compensate for his bad night on offense. The point guard scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, but his arrival to the game was too late. The cards were cast and the victory was practically in the possession of the Pelicans who continue to give reasons for excitement.

(Cover photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

2024-03-29 08:00:00
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