“You could tell from the start of the game that he was playing at a different pace,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said of Ingram, who made 12 of 20 shots after hitting just 8 of 36 in his previous two games back from a sore Achilles. “He was aggressive, and he had intention. He knew where he wanted to get, and he got to his spots and jumped up and shot the ball. He got to the free throw line. It just took him a couple games to get back in rhythm.”
Warriors’ leading scorer Stephen Curry was ruled out after hurting his left quad during a loss a night earlier in Dallas. Also held out was veteran leader and leading rebounder Draymond Green because of a sore hip.
Meanwhile, both teams apparently were missing their 3-point shooting range, combining to miss 52 shots from deep.
The Pelicans appeared to have the game in hand when they led 94-84 on rookie Herb Jones’ layup with 1:27 to go. Then they nearly self-destructed.
Golden State guard Jordan Poole hit a layup, and after New Orleans’ Gary Clark had Jones’ pass slip off his hands and out of bounds, Poole quickly hit a 30-foot 3. The Warriors then stole the ball from guard Devonte’ Graham in the back court and Jonathan Kuminga hit a layup to make it 94-91 with 51.5 seconds remaining.
After that, the Pelicans hit seven of eight free throws to hold on, with Ingram and Jones each hitting two and Josh Hart making three.
“Being short-handed gives the young guys a good chance to play and experience a pressure-filled game on the road,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I am proud of the team fighting all the way through, giving themselves a chance at the end. Just didn’t have enough, and the ball didn’t go in enough.”
While Ingram is a former All-Star and established scorer, he said his brief recent shooting slump — which occurred during two Pelicans losses — still bothered him.
“It takes a toll on me throughout the day and the next day until we can get back on the floor,” Ingram said. “Today was definitely a good night for me. My body felt good. I felt good going to the rim. I had a rhythm. I had a good touch to my shot.”
Jones, a second-round draft choice out of Alabama who is quickly becoming a constant in the starting lineup, finished with 13 points and a career-high five steals.
“He’s tremendous. Herb Jones is a ferocious defender, and he’s just becoming a more sound basketball player as we progress,” Green said. “I’ve been saying it all year, but we are excited to have him on our team and excited to see what he’s doing for us.”
Hart scored 14 points and Clark had 10, hitting three of four 3-pointers. Jonas Valanciunas grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots.
Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points. Kuminga scored 13 and Damion Lee added 12 for Golden State, which dropped its second straight.
The Warriors led most of the first half, going up by 11 thanks to a mini-run by Kuminga. After he hit a free throw, he added a put-back and soon after finished a fast break by flushing Iguodala’s alley-oop lob across the lane, making it 27-16.
Ingram checked back in soon after and scored 13 points in the final 6:31 of the half to help the Pelicans go into the break with a 47-46 lead.
Warriors: Coach Steve Kerr said before the game that it made sense to keep Curry out because the star guard’s injured quad was “pretty sore,” and that keeping him off he court in New Orleans “not only gives him a chance to recover from the injury but gives him a needed break” with the Warriors not slated to play again for three days. … Poole finished with 11 points, with 10 coming in the final 1:11 … Moses Moody scored 10 points. … Missed 26 of 33 3-point attempts.
Pelicans: Missed 17 of their first 21 3-point shots before finishing 8 of 34. … Outrebounded Golden State 46-42. … Committed 18 turnovers, leading to 24 Warriors points, while scoring just seven points off of 14 Warriors turnovers.
Warriors: Host Cleveland on Sunday.
Pelicans: Visit Toronto on Sunday.