NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Eric Bledsoe capped a 19-point, 10-assist performance with a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute, and the New Orleans Pelicans held on for a 120-116 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.
Brandon Ingram added 31 points, capped by four free throws in the last 13 seconds to seal the victory. Zion Williamson scored 21 points, highlighted by a pair of driving spin moves in the lane to set up left-handed leaners off the glass.
The Pelicans lost a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter, briefly falling behind in the final four minutes, but were able clamp down defensively and limit the Raptors to just one point during the final 2:47 of regulation.
Fred VanVleet scored 27 points and Chris Boucher added 24 for Toronto, which has opened the season by losing four of its first five games. Pascal Siakam scored 10 points, but fouled out with 8:30 remaining.
The Pelicans led 101-89 when Josh Hart made a free throw just after Siakam fouled out.
But Kyle Lowry quickly responded with a 3, igniting a 22-9 run that ended with 3s by OG Anunoby, Powell and VanVleet to make it 111-110 with 3:16 to go.
Ingram’s free throws tied it at 113 with 1:08 left. And after Toronto lost the ball out of bounds, Bledsoe hit his pivotal left-wing 3 with 41.6 seconds left.
Ingram scored 17 of his points in the first half, when he made three 3s and helped the Pelicans maintain a slim lead for most of the first two quarters despite shooting 36.7% (18 of 49) through the first 24 minutes.
VanVleet scored 11 of his 21 first-half points during the last seven minutes of the second period to push Toronto in front late in the half. Lowery added a 3 from 30 feet away to put the Raptors up 60-50 before a 3 by Lonzo Ball and Steven Adams’ putback dunk trimmed it to 60-55 at halftime.
Raptors: Toronto went 26 of 27 from the free throw line. … The Raptors came in having won five straight in New Orleans and eight of the previous 10 meetings overall. … VanVleet has made at least one 3-pointer in 37 straight games. … Toronto got 38 points from its bench, the majority coming from Boucher. … Lowry was called for a flagrant-1 foul in the second half when he fell backward while guarding Bledsoe on the dribble, then while lying on the floor reached across Beldsoe’s legs as the Pelicans guard began to drive and wound up hitting the floor flat on his front side.
Pelicans: Adams and Ball each scored 13 points and Adams added nine rebounds to just miss a double-double. … The Pelicans outrebounded Toronto 51-39. … The Pelicans attempted 47 free throws, the second-most in franchise history, but missed 11. … New Orleans improved to 2-0 at home.
Raptors: Host Boston on Monday before embarking on a four-game road trip to Phoenix and the West Coast.
Pelicans: Host Indiana on Monday in the second of four straight home games.