It was another busy week in the NBA, and the Blue Zone is here to keep you up to date on the former Blue Devils continuing to make names for themselves on the game's biggest stage:
Ingram beats Timberwolves with a game-winner
Even without Zion Williamson, the New Orleans Pelicans have another former Blue Devil in Brandon Ingram to save the day. The Pelicans faced off against the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday in a high-scoring, competitive game. There were 19 lead changes and 14 ties, keeping fans on the edge of their seats at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Ingram had 33 points on the night, with most of those coming in the fourth quarter. He drilled several shots from 3-point range, giving the Pelicans a lead of 124-118 with less than a minute remaining.
However, the Timberwolves did not go away easily. The visitors fought back through defense and timely shooting to tie the game with just 3.6 seconds left. The prospect of overtime seemed increasingly likely, but the Pelicans called timeout with time to play. The ball bounced off of the inbound to Jonas Valanciunas, who caught it at the wing. Ingram caught his defender Josh Okogie off guard, slipped away for a clean pass from Valanciunas and launched a 3-pointer. The ball swished with 0.3 seconds left and the crowd exhaled in relief as Patrick Beverly missed his half-court heave. While fans wait for Williamson to return, Ingram's clutch shooting and stellar play is on full display.
Jones gets hot against the Warriors
The NBA got a glimpse of what made Duke fall in love with Tyus Jones during its 2015 championship run Tuesday as the Memphis Grizzlies took on the Golden State Warriors in what was Klay Thompson’s first road game back from injury, but that occasion was spoiled by late-game heroics from the Grizzlies. Jones had already made all three of his attempts from distance by the start of the fourth quarter. Memphis tried to pull away, but Golden State wasn't giving up; it was shaping up to be a potential one-possession finish.
With less than five minutes remaining, the Grizzlies were up by three points with possession of the ball. Memphis forward Jaren Jackson Jr. attempted a floater, but the ball rimmed out and somehow tapped out to the top of the key to Jones. The Grizzlies guard had considerable space and launched a 3-pointer to extend the lead to six. Following a missed 3-pointer by Thompson, the Grizzlies moved the ball in transition and Jones dribbled into a dagger three right over Steph Curry. Jones may often go overlooked on this contending Memphis team, but there's no doubt that he will be crucial to his team's playoff hopes.
Barrett and Reddish reunite in New York
RJ Barrett has been off to a terrific start in 2022 for the New York Knicks. After drilling a buzzer-beating three to defeat the Boston Celtics a week ago, the third-year pro has not lost his stride. The Knicks have won five straight games at home, and Barrett has consistently been a huge part of that. He recently hit a milestone, becoming the youngest player in Knicks’ franchise history to record consecutive 30-point games, both at home against Texas teams. The Knicks blew out the San Antonio Spurs 111-96 behind Barrett’s 31-point effort Monday before running the Dallas Mavericks out of town 108-85 behind an exceptional two-way performance from Barrett: the former Blue Devil scored 32 points and held Dallas star Luka Doncic to 2-of-8 shooting from the field.
Now, Barrett will get to reunite and play alongside his old teammate from Duke after the Atlanta Hawks traded former Duke forward Cam Reddish to the Knicks Thursday. Reddish has had moments of his own, scoring over 30 points in a couple of games this season. All in all, he is averaging 11.9 points on 37.9% shooting from 3-point range in just 23.4 minutes per game, but Blue Devil fans surely hope to see Reddish get more playing time and flourish alongside Barrett in the "Mecca of Basketball." The Knicks can use Reddish’s scoring efforts as they attempt a playoff push in the second half of this regular season, and while it remains to be seen whether Barrett and Reddish end up competing in the postseason again this year, Duke fans everywhere will certainly be rooting for their success together.
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