May 21, 2024

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Alvarado's performance propels Pelicans to second in the West

Alvarado’s performance propels Pelicans to second in the West

The undrafted second-year pro from Georgia Tech finished with 38 points, the most by any player off the bench this season. 

His remarkable performance ended with him as the franchise record-holder for most points in a game by an undrafted player and most points by a player off the bench.

He was the reason New Orleans beat Denver, single-handedly putting the team on his back. When he entered the game, New Orleans trailed 29-16. Alvarado was plus-21 in 27 minutes and the team won, 121-106.

He hit eight 3s and drew a standing ovation when Willie Green emptied the bench with a minute remaining. 

Chants of “Jose!” could be heard throughout the Smoothie King Arena and Alvarado was beaming as he took it all in.

To say Alvarado never had a game like the one he had against Denver is not an exaggeration.

His ascendence is at the crux of the Pelicans’ climb to second in the Western Conference. 

He burst on the scene with phenomenal defense performances during the Pelicans’ playoff push a season ago. His energy off the bench is essential to the team’s success and it permeated throughout the roster on Sunday. 

New Orleans fields the deepest team in basketball. The team didn’t miss a beat without Brandon Ingram and Herbert Jones against the Nuggets. 

With Alvarado, Trey Murphy III, Naji Marshall, Dyson Daniels, and Larry Nance Jr., the team has several plug-and-play options that can keep the team afloat when members of the starting-five miss time.

New Orleans (15-8) has won four in a row. The team is 9-3 at home and plays its next three in New Orleans. 

After a game against Detroit (6-18) on Wednesday, the Pelicans have a huge back-to-back against the Phoenix Suns (16-7) on Friday and next Sunday. It’s conceivable that by this time next week, the Pelicans will be first in the West.

The sky is the limit for this Pelicans squad. Alvarado will be a defining player wherever this season goes. 

“It was a joy to watch,” said Green after the game; a joy to him, and everyone else.