Malika AndrewsESPN Staff Writer
NEW YORK — Less than two days after a head injury caused Brandon Ingram to exit a game early, the New Orleans Pelicans forward went off for a career-high 40 points Monday night in a 135-125 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
“I’m a tough cookie,” Ingram said with a sly grin after the game. “I don’t know who was going to tell me to stay out, but I wasn’t going to stay out.”
Ingram shot 17-of-24 from the field and finished 1-of-3 from beyond the 3-point line. He also had five rebounds and five assists. Ingram became the ninth Pelicans player to notch a 40-point game. In his tenure with the Pelicans, Anthony Davis had the most, with 30.
After playing just 13 minutes in Saturday’s matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Ingram was evaluated for a concussion. He was subsequently cleared of a significant head injury. The team kept a close eye on Ingram on Sunday to see if any symptoms would develop.
Ingram played a significant role in the Pelicans’ late-game run. He hit tough fade-away jump shots, Eurostepped his way to the hoop and converted off-balance layups.
Still, Ingram said he was more focused on the shots that didn’t fall. He could recount them all.
“A floater,” Ingram said, ticking off the missed opportunities. “A layup right in front of the rim. I missed a jumper.
“I could’ve done better,” he added.
Derrick Favors, who missed the past three games with right knee soreness, also returned to the Pelicans lineup in Brooklyn. He came off the bench and went scoreless in eight minutes of play.
The Pelicans bobbled early Monday at Barclays Center. The Nets built a 17-point lead by halftime and stretched that to a 20-point advantage early in the third quarter. The Pelicans went on to outscore Brooklyn 40-26 in the final 8 minutes and 47 seconds of the third, including closing the quarter on a 14-4 run. New Orleans’ 48 third-quarter points are the most that the Pelicans have scored in any quarter in franchise history.
In the final quarter, the Pelicans were able to slice the Nets’ lead down to a single field goal, but that’s as close as New Orleans would get.
“We decided to play 20 minutes in a 48-minute game, and that doesn’t work out,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “We have to have the same effort throughout the game.”