NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Pelicans' preseason expectations earned them a marquee game on the NBA schedule, traveling to Memphis on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. For one of the few times all season, New Orleans lived up to the hype, but ultimately fell short.
Alvin Gentry's team led for most of the second half despite a scoreless third quarter from Anthony Davis and was poised to make a play to tie or win the game with 3.5 seconds left as Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee shot the second of his two free throws with the score favoring the home team, 101-99. Lee missed the shot but the ball bounced off the rim and veteran forward Marc Gasol tipped it into the back court where his teammates awaited the chance to run out the final ticks.
"It's tough, it's just kind of part of it," Gentry told reporters of the game-ending play. "It's just a bad bounce, we played it like we should have. We thought we'd have an opportunity to try to run something and tie the game but we didn't so you've just got to move on."
The Pelicans fall to 13-27 with the silver lining of seven straight home games awaiting them. Despite their valiant efforts, they have fallen to 5-18 on the road "It's tough winning games on the road in the NBA but I thought we allowed ourselves an opportunity and that's all you want to try to do and if you get that opportunity, you've got to try to capitalize on it," Gentry said.
Davis finished with 21 points, making 6 of 12 shots from the field and 9 of 11 free throws. Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with 23 points in just 29 minutes. Tyreke Evans sat out his second contest in the last three with a right knee injury.
The first game of the home stand is Tuesday at 7 PM against the Minnesota Timberwolves.