Holiday, Pelicans outlast Bulls 131-128 in 3 OTs
CHICAGO — Jrue Holiday had the game-winning basket in the Pelicans’ 131-128 triple overtime victory over the Bulls on Monday, but the veteran guard said coach Monty Williams gets the biggest assist.
“Coach drew up an incredible play,” said Holiday, who took a dish from teammate Tyreke Evans and bolted uncontested toward the basket for a go-ahead layup in the waning seconds. “I’ve never been that wide open going through the lane in the last four seconds, ever.”
Holiday also drew a foul and hit the shot for an insurance point.
The game seemed headed for a fourth overtime after Bulls forward Joakim Noah tied the game at 128-128 on an 11-foot jumper with 4.5 seconds left. But the Pelicans called a timeout to plot their final push.
“We just executed well,” Evans said. “Coach drew it up, and then it just seemed like the lane was wide open. Jrue knew where to go.”
The victory was the Pelicans’ third straight. Now 9-8, they’re over the .500 mark for the first time this season. Chicago, playing its first home game since Nov. 18, has dropped six of its past seven.
Eleven players scored in double figures, led by 37 from Chicago’s Luol Deng and 36 points from Pelicans’ forward Ryan Anderson.
Eric Gordon added 23 points followed by Holiday (19 points, 12 rebounds), Al-Farouq Aminu (14), Evans (13) and Jason Smith (12).
Joining Deng in double figures for Chicago was Taj Gibson (26), Mike Dunleavy (23), Noah (19) and Kirk Hinrich (13 points, 11 rebounds).
The Pelicans were without Anthony Davis, who suffered a fractured left hand during Sunday’s 103-99 win at New York. Davis, expected to be sidelined indefinitely, sat on the bench in street clothes.
With Davis out, much of the offensive workload fell to Anderson who played 561/2 minutes and had seven 3-pointers to pace the Pelicans.
“He did the same thing for us (Sunday) night,” Williams said. “Tonight he played 56 minutes. He is just a big-time shot maker, (and) he fought really hard tonight against Taj, Boozer and Noah. This is a great defensive team we played.”
The Pelicans led 24-21 after one quarter despite shooting just 37.5 percent (9-for-24) as Anderson led with six points. In the second quarter, the Bulls employed a 8-2 run to for a 44-38 lead with 4:14 left in the half and went into the break with a 56-50 advantage behind Gibson’s 12 second-quarter points.
Dunleavy’s hit a baseline 3 -pointer, and Gibson added two free throws to make it 80-77 in the third quarter’s waning seconds.
Chicago led 98-96 late in regulation before Gordon struck again with a 3-pointer, giving the Pelicans a 99-98 lead entering the final minute.
Deng’s two free throws gave the lead back to Chicago at 100-99, but Anderson replied with a pair of free throws with 46 seconds showing to put the Pelicans ahead 101-100.
Noah had a go-ahead jam, and Dunleavy added a free throw with 21 seconds left in regulation for a 103-101 Chicago edge.
But Holliday’s jumper with 3.9 seconds showing forced a 103-103 deadlock and the first overtime.
Gordon’s 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in the first overtime tied the game at 109-109 to force a second extra session.
Aminu scored seven points in the second overtime, and Holiday closed Pelican scoring with a rebound bucket with 27 seconds showing for a four-point lead. But Deng’s two free throws cut the lead to two, and he banked a shot off an inbound pass with 4.7 seconds left for a 122-122 tie and a third overtime.
“I liked the fight. I don’t like the end result right now, but I believe we’ll get better as we figure out exactly what we’re doing,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Guys are changing roles right now, and the big thing for us to continue to concentrate on improvement and see what we did well and what we need to correct.”
The Pelicans return to New Orleans Arena on Wednesday against Dallas, the first of four straight home games.
The Bulls and Pelicans won’t meet again until Feb. 1 in New Orleans.