Markkanen, Jazz thwart Pelicans’ comeback bid, 122-121 in OT
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Lauri Markkanen capped a 31-point performance with clutch free throws late in overtime, Kelly Olynyk hit a go-ahead, driving scoop with 3 seconds to go in the extra period, and the overhauled Utah Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans 122-121 on Sunday night to remain unbeaten through three games under new coach Will Hardy.
Utah had to regroup after losing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter and trailing 110-107 when CJ McCollum hit a 3-pointer in the final minute of regulation. But Jordan Clarkson hit a tying 3 to force overtime and Utah had the benefit of not having to play against Brandon Ingram or Zion Williamson in overtime.
Ingram left the Pelicans’ home opener in the second quarter with concussion symptoms after a collision with teammate Naji Marshall. Williamson scored 25 points in his first regular-season game in New Orleans since May 4, 2021. But the star power forward also hit the floor hard on his lower back when Clarkson blocked his transition dunk attempt from behind in the fourth quarter.
Williamson never left the bench area to seek treatment, but also never re-entered the game while New Orleans pulled off a remarkable comeback without him to force overtime.
Utah led 102-85 on Clarkson’s layup early in the fourth quarter, after which coach Willie Green called timeout.
New Orleans then responded with a 25-5 run in which McCollum and Trey Murphy each scored nine and Larry Nance Jr. dunked twice.
McCollum, who finished with 28 points, also scored six points in overtime, but his off-balance, 27-foot attempt from the right wing at the end of overtime bounced off the rim.
Olynyk finished with 20 points and Clarkson had 18.
Murphy scored 16 points for New Orleans. Ingram had 10 points in 11 minutes before checking out for good. Nance also scored 10.
The Pelicans hadn’t trailed during either of their first two games at Brooklyn and Charlotte, but Utah dictated the pace of play in the first half.
Utah led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter when Jarred Vanderbilt’s free throws made it 63-52 shortly before halftime, capping a 10-4 run that also included Vanderbilt’s 3 and finger roll.
Herb Jones’ free throw made it a 10-point game at the half.
Pelicans: Jaxson Hayes saw his first action this season after coming back from a left elbow injury. He played just three minutes and missed his only shot. ... New Orleans had 43 bench points. ... The Pelicans finished with a 64-56 advantage on points in the paint.
Pelicans: Host Dallas on Tuesday night.
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