The season of the two teams that met tonight in New Orleans is surely one of the most disappointing in the league. Pelicans and Celtics are far below what was expected of them, but with a difference. While the former are a project that has not yet started (and still does not), the latter are supposed to be one of the cockerels of the East (and are not practicing as such). Even so, in a Pelicans-Celtics the logic says that you bet by those of Boston. And more if in the middle of the third quarter they are winning by 24 points, as it happened tonight.
But these Celtics are not to be trusted and today they have proven it again. A game that they had completely dominated they have ended up losing in extra time. They have done it before a team that in their last meeting in Phoenix fell after a disastrous last quarter in which they were leading by 11 and ended up falling by 18. This is how unpredictable the NBA is, this rare course and this is how some Pelicans are who had lost 5 of the last six games and who right now cannot be considered a serious rival. In this situation is where the Celtics have hit a backfire.
Everything seemed under control after Jayson Tatum exploded in the second quarter with 17 points (he finished with 32) and the Pelicans lost 10 balls in the first half. All this and a few more things led the Celtics to a comfortable 55-79 midway through the third quarter. From there, the cataclysm. First a partial of 19-8 to close the period and then another of 10-2 to start the last 12 minutes, in which Josh Hart was essential with 8 points in a row (he finished with 18, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks).
From there it was a new game with blows from both directions and with two leadership changes in the last 11 seconds, first with a Tatum basket and then with a 2 + 1 from Zion Williamson, who finished the game with 28, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. The power forward averaged 26.8 goals in February with 66% in field goals, something that only five other players have done in a calendar month (with at least ten games): Wilt Chamberlain three times, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bernard King, Charles Barkley and Dwight Howard. Finally Tatum was going to force the extension to a second from the end.
The overtime had little annotation already Brandon Ingram as a star. The forward hit a triple 33 seconds from the end to sentence a memorable comeback in which he finished as the top scorer with 33 points and in which Willy Hernangómez started in the absence of Steven Adams. The Spaniard played 23 minutes and, although he was not very successful facing the basket (6 points, 3/10 in shots) he did have a good contribution in the rebound with 13 sacks.