Memphis (USA), May 10 (EFE) .- Forward Dillon Brooks scored 23 points as the leader of the balanced attack of the Memphis Grizzlies that beat the New Orleans Pelicans 115-110 and secured a place in the tournament of play-in of the Western Conference.
While the Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, who won the duel with the Spanish Willy Hernangómez, who started with the Pelicans, contributed a double-double of 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks that also helped the Grizzlies to secure the victory and entry to the playoff tournament.
Forward Kyle Anderson had 14 points and four blocks, while starting point guard Ja Morant finished with a double-double of 12 points and 12 assists.
Guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who came out of reserve, led the shortstop Pelicans with 18 points, while Hernangómez had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Hernangómez played 24 minutes in which he scored 6 of 14 shots from the field and 3 of 6 from the personnel line, in addition to distributing four assists, lost two balls and committed three personal fouls.
Power forward James Johnson and backup center Jaxson Hayes each scored 13 points.
The Pelicans didn’t have top scorers, forward Zion Williamson and power forward Brandon Ingram. Guard Josh Hart, who is averaging 9.2 points and eight rebounds, and center Steven Adams also sat down with injuries.
In addition to having the casualties of four of the five starters, the Pelicans also had to play games on consecutive nights after having won the road against the Charlotte Hornets.
Only with the absences of Williamson and Ingram, the Pelicans were without 51 average points.
But New Orleans proved to be a tough test in the duel against the Grizzlies who needed to win.
The Pelicans erased a halftime deficit by scoring 50 percent in the first six minutes of the third quarter. Memphis missed all but one of its first 10 shots.
Morant, who emerged as the team leader in the deciding moments, scored eight straight points to put Memphis within 88-86 entering the fourth.
Memphis finally built their lead to nine in the final minutes and secured the victory that helped them break five straight losses to the Pelicans.
Thanks to their defensive game, which allowed them to put up 10 blocks in the first half, the best record since they also had 10 against the Utah Jazz in 2010, the Grizzlies left their mark at 35-33, ninth in the Western Conference.
(c) EFE Agency