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Graham, Valanciunas push Pelicans past Pacers, 117-113

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Devonte Graham scored 25 points, Josh Hart had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Indiana Pacers 117-113 on Monday night.

Graham, who was questionable before the game because of a sore left ankle, started and went 5 of 9 from 3-point range on a night when the rest of his team missed 20 of 21 from deep.

Hart, who briefly left the game in the third quarter after turning his left ankle, returned in the fourth quarter and immediately hit the Pelicans’ only other made 3 of the game. He grabbed his ninth rebound with 28 seconds left to help stave off the Pacers’ comeback bid.

The short-handed Pacers stayed in the game — and led for a good portion of it — because of their 3-point shooting. They made 19 of 46 (41.3%) for the game.

Duane Washington Jr., an undrafted rookie out of Ohio State who’d made 17 3s for the season coming in, hit a career-best seven shots (on 12 attempts) from deep for a career-high 21 points.

The game was a highly competitive contest between teams missing their top scorers.

Pelicans leading scorer Brandon Ingram was sidelined by a right ankle sprain, while Pacers top scorer Domantas Sabonis was out with a left ankle sprain.

The absence of Sabonis inside benefitted Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas, who scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to go with six assists.

Indiana was missing several other prominent contributors, including Malcolm Brogdon (sore right Achilles) and Myles Turner (left foot).

Caris Levert scored 19 and Chris Duarte 14 for the Pacers.

Neither team led by more than eight points in a game that had 12 lead changes and 10 ties.

Levert’s 3 with 2 seconds left pulled the Pacers to 115-113 before New Orleans successfully inbounded the ball and Nickeil Alexander-Walker iced the game with two free throws to cap off his 14-point, six-assist performance.

TIP-INS

Pacers: Torrey Craig score 13 points and Goga Bitadze had 12 points. … Closed out their five game road trip at 2-3. … The game marked the beginning of guard Lance Stephenson’s second 10-day contract with the Pacers. “He’s done some very good things,” coach Rick Carlisle said. Stephenson played 17 minutes and had seven points, five assists and four rebounds.

Pelicans: Outscored Indiana 64-32 in the paint. … Garrett Temple and Jaxson Hayes each scored 14 points and Hayes had seven rebounds. … Hit 29 of 31 free throws and outrebounded Indiana 45-42.

UP NEXT

Pacers: Host Charlotte on Wednesday.

Pelicans: Visit Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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