Pelicans pick up 118-107 win against the Wizards

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The New Orleans Pelicans picked up a 118-107 win against the Washington Wizards Friday night thanks in part to improved play on the defensive end particularly in the second half.

The Pelicans were able to hold the Wizards to 34 percent shooting in the second half and used a couple key runs to pull ahead of Washington in the third quarter.

“It is [the difference],” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. I thought we did a good job of locking in defensively. I thought we were giving too much space, we weren’t into the ball, and then we were going under screens and we were going under too far. 

“I thought it was really good. Fred (Vinson) talked to them during halftime and he just said that we have to be into the ball much, much more, and I thought we did a good job of just doing that, being aggressive, playing screen-and-rolls really well, and just being who we were before we came down here. I was real proud of the guys and the effort that they gave.”

Frank Jackson and Nicolo Melli contributed 13 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench.

“I think we needed just a little bit of energy,” Melli said. “I think Frank (Jackson) and I, we brought that [energy] to the team…then, of course Josh (Hart), but Josh always brings the team energy. We just needed to pick up Washington from their baseline, and we did it, and I think we did a pretty good job. We needed this win. This was the most important thing…no matter how, no matter what, and we did it. “