The New Orleans Pelicans began their 2023-24 campaign with a 111-104 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies inside the FedEx Forum on Wednesday night. CJ McCollum led the way and key contributions from several others also helped in the victory.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Pelicans and Grizzlies mostly traded buckets in the first quarter. It was not until the 3:47 mark that a team had a lead of larger than three. That lead was 23-18 in favor of Memphis after a David Roddy three-point shot. The quarter ended with the Grizzlies leading 28-25. CJ McCollum had seven first quarter points and Brandon Ingram had eight.
The Grizzlies got the lead to eight at 33-25 early in the second quarter, but the Pelicans went on a run after that. A 16-0 run capped by a Jonás Valanciunas three-pointed made it 41-33 New Orleans.
The lead would grow as large as 15 and at the halftime break, the Pelicans maintained a 57-47 advantage. Ingram and McCollum combined for 21 first half points.
New Orleans held steady in the third, and actually increased their lead to 12. McCollum and Ingram once again led the way, combining for 16 in the third alone. After three, the Pelicans led 82-70.
In the fourth quarter, the Pelicans never let the lead get into question. The closest Memphis got was within seven, and that was only with a bucket at the final horn. New Orleans held on for the 111-104 victory and ended a five game losing streak at the FedEx Forum.
BIG NUMBER: 65
The Pelicans “big three” of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum combined for 65 points in a solid opening night effort.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: CJ McCollum
McCollum had 24 points, six assists, and four rebounds in the victory. He led the charge early and often as the Pels moved to 1-0.
UP NEXT: The Pelicans will be in New Orleans on Saturday night for the home opener in the Smoothie King Center at 6:00 PM against the New York Knicks.