NEW ORLEANS – Lonzo Ball pulled up decisively from left wing to sink his career-high seventh 3-pointer in a single game, then glided back toward the Pelicans' defensive end, slapping the extended hand of coach Alvin Gentry as a thunderous roar filled the arena.
Showing increasing confidence in his modified shooting stroke, Ball scored a season-high 27 points and New Orleans beat the undermanned Houston Rockets 127-112 on Sunday night for their fourth straight victory.
“I knew it was not going to happen overnight. This is a new shot for me,” said Ball, who had a slow start to the season but made 11 3s combined in a pair of games over the weekend. “Hopefully it can get consistent over time.”
E'Twaun Moore hit five 3s and scored a season-high 25 points in a reserve role for New Orleans, which trailed by nine early in the fourth quarter before suddenly seizing complete control against a Houston squad without its three most productive players: James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Clint Capela.
Brandon Ingram scored 27 and Jrue Holiday 25 for the Pelicans, who'll enter the new year having won five of six games as they await the debut of No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson. Derek Favors had 12 points and 17 rebounds.
Daniel House Jr. scored 22 and Eric Gordon, returning for the first time since having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in mid-November, added 20 points.
“I just want to continue to build from this,” Gordon said. "We played well tonight. It’s just things got tough towards the end and we kind of fell. We’ve got a lot of young guys playing out there, but everybody played well and I’m sure we'll be fine.”
Isaiah Hartenstein, making his first-career start, had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who shot 51.9% (42 of 81), made 15 3s and spent much of the opening three quarters in the lead.