Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball Lead Pelicans to Blowout Win vs. John Wall, Rockets

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IFebruary 10, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) shoots a free throw against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)
Derick Hingle/Associated Press

A day after the Houston Rockets were bodied by LaMelo Ball's 24-point performance, another member of the Ball family asserted his dominance when Lonzo Ball and the Pelicans defeated the Rockets, 130-101, in New Orleans on Tuesday.

For the Pelicans, seven different players scored in double digits, but 22 points from Brandon Ingram propelled New Orleans, which improved to 11-12 with the victory and is on a four-game winning streak.

For the Rockets, who have dropped four of their last five games, John Wall posted 25 points.


Notable Performers

  • John Wall, Rockets: 25 PTS, 6 AST, 4 REB
  • Eric Gordon, Rockets: 23 PTS, 3 AST
  • Josh Hart, Pelicans: 20 PTS, 17 REB
  • Brandon Ingram, Pelicans: 22 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST
  • Zion Williamson, Pelicans: 20 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST


Rockets Struggle Without Their Stars

Less than two weeks ago, the Rockets pummeled the Pelicans 126-112. But Houston entered Tuesday's battle against New Orleans without that night's two most productive players.

Back on Jan. 30, Christian Wood dropped 27 points and tallied nine rebounds, but he hasn't played since Feb. 4 and is week-to-week with a right ankle sprain. Victor Oladipo, who had 20 points in the January win, was resting Tuesday after netting 21 points with seven assists and six rebounds against Charlotte on Monday.

Eric Gordon and John Wall played after missing out on a dismal outing in Charlotte, where the Rockets were limited to seven points in the fourth quarter, and they were seemingly the only players on the court in the first half for the Rockets.

Wall posted 16 points and Gordon added 15, but Danuel House Jr. was the team's third-leading scorer with just seven points. Of the five other players who grabbed points for Houston heading into the half, four of them only had two points each.

Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen

Rockets keeping it tight, down 3 with Ball heading to line. But while Pels are 10 of 10 on FTs, Rockets 4 of 10. Have allowed 8 2nd-chance points midway through 2nd. Tough to win on the road without Wood, Oladipo if Rockets keep giving away points, allowing second shots.

After trailing at the break, the Rockets had a massive third quarter to move from a 20-point deficit to within eight points of the lead, but they couldn't pull it together to overtake the Pelicans.

Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen

Pelicans 92, Rockets 81 after 3. Rockets made a good run from down 20 to within eight but made 1 of last 5 3s, missing some great looks. Wall with 25p, 6a. Season high is 28. House provided a nice lift but just 1 of 5 on 3s.

While it was another miserable showing, the Rockets played without at least one of their top players for the second straight night.

The absence of Oladipo tonight, similarly to Gordon and Wall on Monday, was just an opportunity to get some rest, but with Wood sidelined, the Rockets will continue to have a minimally depleted roster. This stretch of games proves that it would be in their best interests to find more balanced depth to back up their stars, so close losses don't become blowouts.


Balanced Attack Benefits Pelicans

Amid much of their recent success, the Pelicans have looked to Brandon Ingram.

The star had averaged 25.6 points in the Pelicans' eight games leading into Tuesday and collected at least 27 in five of those outings—including in New Orleans' last game, on Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

That night, Ingram posted 27 points to go with 29 from Zion Williamson in the 118-109 victory.

But on Tuesday, everyone on the roster contributed to put the game all but out of reach for the Rockets at the break.

The Pelicans pulled out to a 63-50 lead at the break, using a 17-0 run in the final four minutes of the half to break away from a 44-43 score and take a 13-point lead into halftime.

At the break, Josh Hart was the leader with 12 points, five of which came on one possession as he was fouled on a layup, grabbed the rebound off his missed free throw and then made the free throw on the ensuing foul from his made shot.

Chris Hagan @ChrisHaganTV

Have a game Josh Hart. Dude is hustling.

FOXSports NewOrleans @FOXSportsNOLA

Josh Hart ready for takeoff!! 🚀 @PelicansNBA | @joshhart | #WontBowDown https://t.co/IDNuN8nFYD

Williamson played just seven minutes in the first half when he got into foul trouble, but in his limited time he tallied 10 points and four assists, ending the night with 20 points in 21 minutes.

Christian Clark @cclark3000

Leading by 13 at halftime when Zion played 7 minutes is a pretty big win.

Hart ended the night with an impressive 20 points, while Ball tacked on 15. Even rookie Kira Lewis Jr. got in on the double-digit action, with 10 points in 20 minutes.

Pelicans PR @PelicansPR

Currently with 16 rebounds, Josh Hart has set a franchise mark for rebounds in a game by a guard, surpassing the mark of 15, also by Hart, and Elfrid Payton. #WontBowDown

On a roster that typically can rely on a specific duo of stars, the entire squad showed up to dominate Houston.


What's Next?

The Pelicans are back in action Wednesday when they travel to Chicago for a 9 p.m. ET tipoff against the Bulls at United Center.

Houston returns home, with a day off before a Thursday matchup against the Miami Heat at 7:30 p.m.