NEW ORLEANS — For 3 quarters on Friday evening, issues had been going the New Orleans Pelicans’ method in opposition to the Phoenix Suns.

The Pelicans carried an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter, and their offense was buzzing to the tune of 102 factors within the first 36 minutes. However video games are 48 minutes lengthy. And the ultimate 12 had been definitely ones the Pelicans would love to quickly neglect.

The lead evaporated in 4 minutes. Then, not even 4 minutes later, the Suns had been up double digits. When the ultimate horn sounded, the Suns joyously walked off the court docket with a 132-114 win, whereas the Pelicans headed to their locker room in a daze, attempting to determine what simply transpired.

In accordance to analysis by the Elias Sports activities Bureau, the 18-point defeat was the biggest within the NBA within the shot-clock period (since 1954-55) for a group that entered the fourth quarter up double digits.

So what occurred?

“I noticed Chris Paul take management of the basketball recreation,” Pelicans ahead Brandon Ingram stated.

Paul completed with 15 factors and 19 assists and was plus-28 within the fourth quarter — and he did not even play 10 minutes. The veteran level guard helped the Suns seize management and by no means seemed again.

“Man is orchestrating on the market. He is aware of what is going on on on the ground earlier than it even occurs,” Suns guard Devin Booker stated. “With him, the sport is rarely out of attain. The sport is rarely over till the horn sounds. He did a very good job of main us, retaining our composure all through the entire recreation.

“In that fourth quarter, it is a murals. The way in which he was choosing aside their protection and making performs for others and on the identical time scoring when he had to.”

Paul was seemingly three steps forward of all the pieces the Pelicans needed to do within the fourth quarter. His falling 3-pointer over Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball with 4:41 left felt just like the dagger to put New Orleans away. He ran again up the court docket along with his teammates chasing him as Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy known as a timeout to attempt to salvage one thing within the closing minutes.

Nonetheless, opposite to what social media instructed within the second, Paul did not scream, “I personal this place.”

“I stated, ‘I do know this place, I do know this place,'” stated Paul, who performed in New Orleans for the primary six seasons of his profession. “I do know it. I do. I spent a number of the greatest years of my life was enjoying right here in New Orleans.”

Whereas the Suns had been determining a method to come out with the victory, the Pelicans had been left attempting to determine how they let the sport slip away.

“Simply being within the recreation, I feel us not getting stops sort of demoralized on the offensive finish,” Ball stated. “Seeing them hit 3s back-to-back-to-back, we weren’t getting any ball motion or good pictures over the course of the fourth quarter. It simply bought worse and worse.”

Except for the barrage of 3-pointers Phoenix was sending New Orleans’ method, the Pelicans bought sloppy with the basketball, as properly. After committing simply seven turnovers within the first three quarters, the Pelicans coughed it up six occasions within the first six minutes, main to 12 Phoenix factors.

It is an issue that has plagued New Orleans this season. With Friday’s loss, New Orleans falls to 12-9 this season in video games through which they’ve had a double-digit lead. That is probably the most losses after main by double digits within the NBA this season, in accordance to ESPN Stats & Data analysis.

“The factor is when chaos is happening, we gotta determine how to quiet down,” Ingram stated. “We now have to find a way to alter throughout the recreation.

“No matter defensive scheme, no matter we wanna do on the offensive finish to make our group the very best group, that is what we want to do. After these losses, it is irritating. We do not have a lot to say. The coaches haven’t got a lot to say. You simply take a look at the movie and check out to be higher tomorrow.”

Van Gundy stated he would not suppose his group’s difficulty is age.

“A number of groups on this league have quarters like that,” Van Gundy stated. “I will by no means throw the younger card on the market. We’re a basketball group with actually proficient individuals, and we did not get the job completed within the fourth quarter.”

He did name it a “disastrous quarter,” although. And it was. The minus-29 level differential was the biggest for the Pelicans in any quarter in franchise historical past.

“They had been hitting us with haymakers on the finish, then it simply snowballed,” Van Gundy added.

Pelicans ahead Zion Williamson stated there’s just one method to deal with a loss like this.

“Actually, the factor for us is study from it,” the 20-year-old stated. “Actually, I feel that is the very best factor we are able to do. Be taught from it.”

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