PHOENIX (AP) — Saddled with four fouls and struggling with his shot, Brandon Ingram stayed aggressive.
It worked out quite well.
Ingram scored 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and JJ Redick had 26 points, leading the New Orleans Pelicans to a 124-121 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.
“Just seeing what the defense was giving me. I was forcing it a little bit in the first half,” Ingram said. “Not letting the game come to me. I tried to open up the floor a little bit by passing it to my teammates for shot on the wings, then finally finding attack space and knocking down shots.”
Jrue Holiday had 23 points and nine assists for the Pelicans, who earned their third straight win. E’Twaun Moore added a season-high 19 points.
Ingram’s drive and strong finish at the rim while being fouled helped New Orleans open a 122-115 lead with 1:25 to play.
But a technical foul, a turnover and a foul on a 3-pointer gave Phoenix a little hope.
Holiday missed two free throws with 0.5 seconds to play, giving the Suns a chance to tie after a quick timeout. But the Suns couldn’t get a good shot up.
“Anytime you can win on the road it’s a great win, but obviously we have to do much better than that,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “We have to be smarter down the stretch.”
Kelly Oubre Jr. led Phoenix with 25 points in its third consecutive loss. Devin Booker had 19 for the short-handed Suns, who were without starting center Aron Baynes and starting point guard Ricky Rubio.
The Pelicans held the lead in the fourth quarter from start to finish. Phoenix got as close as two points down at 117-115 with 2:22 remaining.
Ingram then made a turnaround jumper before his big three-point play, helping New Orleans pull away again.
The Pelicans made their first 10 shots of the third quarter to take an 83-76 lead, with Redick scoring 10 points in that run. New Orleans didn’t miss a shot until the 5:34 mark, but lost the lead briefly before carrying a 95-94 advantage into the fourth.
“We came out (in the third) and I think they scored 15 points in four minutes,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “There’s no scheme for that, you just have to be more locked into the game.”
Kenrich Williams’ layup — his only two points of the game — off a pass from Ingram put the Pelicans ahead 105-96 at the 10:18 mark of the fourth quarter.
Oubre’s 3 at the second-quarter buzzer gave the Suns their largest lead of the half at 66-59.
Oubre blew kisses to the crowd after the shot. He had 17 first-half points.
Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball came off the bench and had eight points and five assists in his first game since Nov. 8. Ball had been dealing with a strained groin.
ARENA PROJECT UNVEILED
The Suns unveiled renderings and details of the planned renovation of Talking Stick Resort Arena during a pregame event at the nearby Phoenix Convention Center. Suns managing partner Robert Sarver went over the numerous upgrades for the Suns’ home, which opened in 1992.
The $230 million project is a joint effort between the team and Phoenix city government.
“Most importantly, (the project) will feature state-of-the-art improvements that will allow us to deliver a world-class guest experience to all of our great fans,” Sarver said in a statement from the team.
Pelicans: Redick scored 14 points in the first quarter. … C Jahlil Okafor missed his fifth straight game because of a sprained left ankle. … F Derrick Favors was held out with back spasms for the third straight game, and G Josh Hart also didn’t play due to a sprained ankle.
Suns: Booker didn’t reach the 20-point mark in a game for just the second time this season. … Baynes missed his second straight game with a hip flexor strain. He was replaced in the lineup by Frank Kaminsky, who scored 14 points. … G Tyler Johnson got his first start of the season with Rubio out with back spasms.
Pelicans: At Utah on Saturday night.
Suns: At Minnesota on Saturday afternoon.
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