Hart gives Pelicans a boost in 130-101 win over Rockets

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 09: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans, Jae'Sean Tate #8 of the Houston Rockets and John Wall #1 go for a loose ball during the second half at the Smoothie King Center on February 09, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 09: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans, Jae'Sean Tate #8 of the Houston Rockets and John Wall #1 go for a loose ball during the second half at the Smoothie King Center on February 09, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) (2021 Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS – Pelicans reserve Josh Hart went from being questionable to play with back spams to scrapping for 40 minutes because of Zion Williamson's early foul trouble.

“He played probably way too many minutes," Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But I wasn’t going to take him out because he was doing a great, great job.”

Hart scored 20 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds, and the Pelicans beat Houston 130-101 on Tuesday night to extend their winning streak to four games.

“Luckily, I didn’t go out too often, so I didn’t have the risk of me getting cold and then locking back up,” Hart said as the team prepared to head straight from the arena to the airport for a road trip. “Being able to go out there and help the team — obviously, it was a pretty good game — so it felt amazing, felt good. I'm only worried that, hopefully my back doesn't lock up on this plane ride.”

Brandon Ingram scored 22 and Williamson added 20 points, seven assists, five rebounds and a steal despite being limited to 20 minutes on the court, which might prove beneficial with New Orleans playing on back-to-back nights.

Willy Hernangomez added 14 points and 10 rebounds in a reserve role and Lonzo Ball capped his 15-point night with a back-breaking 3 as New Orleans pulled away in the fourth quarter.

John Wall scored 25 points, routinely beating defenders off the dribble and finishing near the basket. Eric Gordon 23 for Houston, which lost its third straight.

Houston coach Stephen Silas took issue with his team's defense, citing the Pelicans' 60 points in the paint and 18 second-chance points.