Jaxson Hayes

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Three Things to Know: Brandon Ingram has earned an All-Star nod and max contract

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Brandon Ingram has earned an All-Star nod and max contract. There were legitimate reasons the Pelicans were hesitant to give Brandon Ingram a contract extension last summer.

He was coming off a blood clot issue that, if it returned, would threaten his career. He wasn’t a guy who took or made a lot of threes. He had most of his offensive success in isolation or as a pick-and-roll ball handler, how would he fit in coach Alvin Gentry’s offensive system that required ball movement and catch-and-shoot skills? How would he fit next to Zion Williamson?

Ingram made a leap this season and blew all those questions out of the water (except the Zion one, that starts to get answered next week).

Ingram is averaging 25.8 points per game and is shooting 40.6 percent from three on 6.2 attempts from deep per game. He has dramatically improved his jump shot, fit in brilliantly with Gentry’s system, and become the Pelicans’ best — and go-to — player. Exactly the guy the Lakers envisioned when they drafted him No. 2 out of Duke in 2016.

That peaked on Thursday night when Ingram dropped a career-high 49 on the Utah Jazz and led the Pelicans to a win that snapped Utah’s 10-game win streak.

This leap would not have happened if the Lakers had not traded Ingram, he was never going to be a comfortable fit next to LeBron James (even if Ingram has improved off-the-ball in Gentry’s system).

“[The Lakers] have such a rich history of winning, a lot of pressure goes on the shoulders of those young guys,” said the Clippers’ Lou Williams, who spent half a season as a teammate of then-rookie Ingram. “Different organizations have more of a patience to develop more guys. The Lakers want to win right away. So some of the pressure was deserved because [Ingram and Lonzo Ball] was high picks, and they should be good quality basketball players, but at the same time they’re young guys trying to figure it out.”

Ingram figured it out, but things might have been different, he might not have made this leap if Zion had stayed healthy. The Pelicans offense would have been different with the No. 1 pick (also out of Duke).

Forget the “what ifs” however — Brandon Ingram has made the leap and now the rewards should be flowing. NBA coaches should select him as a reserve for the All-Star Game in Chicago. He’s earned it.

Next summer, Ingram will get a max contract — almost certainly from the Pelicans. While New Orleans has not seen Ingram next to Williamson in a meaningful way (the preseason doesn’t count), it can’t afford to lose the restricted free agent and other teams will undoubtedly be lined up with max offers.

Ingram is about to get PAID. That comes with the respect he’s earned.

Ingram was also at the heart of the wild ending in New Orleans Thursday night. The Pelicans thought they had won the game in regulation on Ingram’s off-balance jumper with 0.2 seconds left.

Utah had just 0.2 left to make a play, which by NBA rule means it had to be a tip. The Pelicans packed the paint, but rookie Jaxson Hayes was called for holding Rudy Gobert as the Utah center attempted to free himself for the desperation tip-in (the Last Two Minute report in this game is going to be fascinating, but because there was a little hold — not enough to get called in this situation, but it was there — expect the report to back the refs).

The holding call was upheld after video review.

That gave Gobert a chance to win it by making two foul shots, but he split them, tied the game, and sent it to overtime. In the extra frame, Gobert fouled out on an Ingram drive (another very questionable call) and behind a final five points from Ingram — plus seven from Derrick Favors — the Pelicans got the home win.

2) We have a trade Hawks/Timberwolves trade… that sets up other trades. If one were to grade this trade as a stand-alone move, The Timberwolves would fail the test.

The first trade of the deadline season sees Minnesota sending Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham to Atlanta, and getting Allen Crabbe in return.

For Atlanta, they get a much needed backup point guard behind Trae Young (it’s a short-term fix, but they told a frustrated Young they would get him help). When Young is running the show and bombing deep threes, the Hawks have a respectable offense. However, when Young sits, the Atlanta offense scores far less than a point per possession (90.7 offensive rating) and those stretches end up costing the team games. Teague is a solid point guard who can organize the Hawks offense and keep things from dropping off a cliff while Young rests.

For Minnesota, this trade only makes sense if it’s seen as the precursor to a second trade (maybe involving Crabbe, who makes $18.5 million this season). It clears out a roster spot, something the Timberwolves needed to do to go big game hunting. They are still interested in Golden State’s D’Angelo Russell (to play with his good friend Karl-Anthony Towns) and but lose some flexibility in how to make that trade happen. Whether they should trade for Russell is another question — Wolves GM Gersson Rosas said he wants a playmaking point guard, not a scoring one, except that’s not Russell — but the Timberwolves are moving to try and make that a reality. It’s hard to judge this trade for the Timberwolves until we see what other shoes drop.

3) Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks remind everyone they are beasts of the East with a win against the Celtics. Boston has joined the long list of teams — pretty much 29 of them — that have no good answer to slow Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Greek Freak scored 32 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, and that plus Khris Middleton’s 23 was enough for Milwaukee to knock off the Celtics 128-123 on Thursday night. The Bucks have now won five in a row and remain on pace for a 70-win season (even if their GM says they will not chase a record number of wins).

Kemba Walker scored 40 points to lead Boston. The bigger concern for the Celtics is Jaylen Brown, who suffered a sprained right thumb against Detroit and sat this game out, plus he could miss more time.

Brandon Ingram drops career-high 49, Pelicans end Jazz 10-game win streak in wild finish

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NEW ORLEANS — Brandon Ingram scored a career-high 49 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans stopped the Utah Jazz’s 10-game win streak with a 138-132 victory Thursday night.

Utah led 132-127 on Bojan Bogdanovic’s 3 with 2:28 to go in overtime, but went scoreless the rest of the way. The Pelicans scored 11 straight on layups by Derrick Favors and E’Twaun Moore and seven free throws.

Favors finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks against his former team. Moore had 16 points for New Orleans, which has won 10 of 14 and has two games to play before the NBA’s top overall draft choice, Zion Williamson, is slated to make his Pelicans debut on Wednesday night.

Fellow 2019 first-round picks Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Jaxson Hayes each played prominent roles in New Orleans’ victory. Alexander-Walker had 12 points, and Hayes collected nine points, five rebounds and a blocked shot.

The Pelicans thought they had won the game in regulation on Ingram’s off-balance jumper with .2 seconds left.

But Hayes was called for holding Rudy Gobert as Utah attempted a desperation tip-in on the inbound pass.

The call, which was upheld after video review, gave Gobert a chance to win it by making both foul shots.

But with the crowd heartily booing the officials, Gobert missed the first free throw before hitting the pressure-packed second to tie it at 122 and force overtime.

Utah star Donovan Mitchell tied his career high with 46 points before missing several shots in the final minutes of overtime. Bogdanovic scored 26, and Gobert finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.

Mitchell hit three 3s in the last four minutes of regulation to put Utah on the brink of victory, but missed a mid-range pull-up inside the final 10 seconds. The Pelicans rebounded and called timeout with 6.3 seconds left to set up the tense final sequence of regulation.

The game was tight throughout. There were 23 lead changes and 23 ties. The largest lead by either team was nine after Favors’ block of Gobert led to a transition layup by Ingram to make it 56-47.

Mitchell cut it to 56-49 at halftime when he took a pass from Joe Ingles and in one motion flipped a running floater off the glass as time expired.

Utah opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run, with Bogdanovic scoring five points on a layup and a 3, and the game was tied at 58.

Watch Jayson Tatum score career-high 41 as Celtics snap three-game losing streak

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BOSTON — Jayson Tatum made six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 41 points as the Boston Celtics cruised past the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans, 140-105 on Saturday night.

Tatum’s first career 40-point performance helped the Celtics snap a season-high, three-game losing streak. He became the second-youngest Celtic to score 40+ points in a game (Antoine Walker).

Enes Kanter added 22 points, Gordon Hayward had 19 and Kemba Walker finished with 17 points and seven assists.

Boston shot 14 of 29 from the 3-point line and tied a season high for points.

Frank Jackson scored 22 points for the Pelicans. Jaxson Hayes added 20.

New Orleans played without Derrick Favors because a right hamstring strain, Jrue Holiday sat his fourth straight game with a left elbow contusion, Kenrich Williams missed his third consecutive game with back soreness and J.J. Redick sat with a left hamstring strain.

Hayes and E'Twaun Moore started in place of Williams and Favors.

The Celtics exploited the absences early. Tatum was active from a variety of spots on the floor, connecting on eight of his first nine shots. He scored 22 points in the the first half to help the Celtics build as much as a 22-point lead.

Watch Derrick Rose’s game winner, Pistons beat Pelicans 105-103

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NEW ORLEANS — Derrick Rose is 31 and his body has taken a beating, but the 2011 NBA MVP showed once again he can still take over a game and knock down the decisive shot.

Rose hit a 14-foot jumper in the lane with 0.3 seconds left and scored 17 of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter to lift the Detroit Pistons over the skidding New Orleans Pelicans 105-103 on Monday night.

It was Rose’s second consecutive strong fourth-quarter performance for the Pistons, who have won four of five. New Orleans lost its ninth straight.

“I don’t talk or boast or brag about it, but I still have goals,” said Rose, who has endured a series of physical setbacks, including an ACL tear, that have resulted in him playing for five teams over the past five years.

“I know overall where I’m at as a player and as a person, and I believe in myself,” Rose added. “That’s where it all starts – with me believing in myself – and going to an organization and playing for a team that believes in me, too. I believe this is the start.”

With the game tied at 103, Detroit worked an isolation play for Rose, who dribbled the ball out top against Jrue Holiday, one of the best defenders in the league.

Rose drove into the lane, spun to the right and hit his jumper over Holiday’s outstretched arms.

“He has everything,” Holiday said. “I think it was a good play on his part. I’m not going to take anything from him. He’s a great player and the shot that he made was a tough shot. There was nothing I could do about it.”

Pistons coach Dwane Casey said Rose is not completely recovered from a strained right hamstring that forced him to miss five games last month. But his leg must be improving. In a 108-101 victory over Indiana on Saturday, Rose had 10 fourth-quarter points – including four in the final 1:14 and a floater in the lane with 18.4 seconds left that iced the game.

“This man has done it,” Casey said. “His timing and his rhythm – I still don’t think he’s back 100%, but it’s coming. We’ve just got to make sure we play high IQ basketball.”

Rose went 7 of 8 from the field and drained both 3-point attempts during his fourth-quarter flurry.

After his go-ahead basket, New Orleans inbounded the ball from halfcourt toward Jaxson Hayes, but the rookie center could not get the tying tip-in.

Brandon Ingram‘s 18-foot turnaround gave New Orleans a 103-101 lead with 1:11 to go, but Rose hit a spinning layup to tie it at 103 with 38.7 seconds remaining. Ingram then missed a tough-angle jumper from the left baseline over Blake Griffin, who switched over to guard him in the final 90 seconds.

Ingram led the Pelicans with 31 points but scored only four in the fourth quarter.

“We knew Blake couldn’t guard Ingram for long periods of time, but for one possession or two possessions, we wanted him to use his physicality (on Ingram), and he used it,” Casey said. “He did a great job on him.”

Detroit had three players in double figures besides Rose: Langston Galloway (16 points), Luke Kennard (14) and Andre Drummond (13). Drummond also grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Pelicans missed their first 10 3-point attempts in the third quarter and Detroit erased a six-point deficit to take a 67-61 lead.

 

Pelicans’ Jaxson Hayes viciously dunks all over Suns’ Cheick Diallo (VIDEO)

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It’s early, but we have a potential Dunk of the Year candidate here. One that likely makes the top 10 at the end of the season, at the very least.

New Orleans rookie Jaxson Hayes has shown real potential this season because of his freaky athleticism. Don’t take my word for it, as Phoenix big man Cheick Diallo, who was helpless to stop him.

That. Is. Nasty.

That dunk was on the front end of a 20-point comeback by the Pelicans to force overtime against the Suns, but Phoenix prevailed in OT behind 44 points on the night from Devin Booker.