Graham, who was questionable before the game because of a sore left ankle, started and went 5 of 9 from 3-point range on a night when the rest of his team missed 20 of 21 from deep. Two of his 3s and eight of his points came in the final six minutes of a game that was tight until the end.
“I just want the ball in those moments,” Graham said. "I just let it fly with confidence. My coaching staff and everybody's got confidence in me and I just take those shots — and thank God, they go in.”
Hart, who briefly left the game in the third quarter after turning his left ankle, returned in the fourth quarter and immediately hit the Pelicans' only other made 3 of the game. He grabbed his ninth rebound with 28 seconds left to help stave off the Pacers' comeback bid.
“I twisted it, but in the moment there's always adrenaline running,” Hart said of his ankle injury. "I'm sure it will be sore tomorrow, but it was just about competing and winning.”
The short-handed Pacers stayed in the game — and led for a good portion of it — because of their 3-point shooting. They made 19 of 46 (41.3%) for the game.
Duane Washington Jr., an undrafted rookie out of Ohio State who'd made 17 3s for the season coming in, hit a career-best seven shots (on 12 attempts) from deep for a career-high 21 points.
“I just had a good rhythm coming into the game,” Washington said. “My guys believe in me to make shots, and they put me in some great positions tonight to make a lot."
The game was a highly competitive contest between teams missing their top scorers.
The absence of Sabonis inside benefitted Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas, who had 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
“He was good and just being patient," Pelicans coach Willie Green said of Valanciunas. "He took advantage of their lack of size.”
“We did a lot of very good things,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “I love the spirit we’ve played with.”
Neither team led by more than eight points in a game that had 12 lead changes and 10 ties.
LeVert's 3 with 2 seconds left pulled the Pacers to 115-113 before New Orleans successfully inbounded the ball and Nickeil Alexander-Walker iced the game with two free throws to cap off his 14-point, six-assist performance.
Pacers: Torrey Craig score 13 points and Goga Bitadze had 12 points. ... Closed out their five game road trip at 2-3. ... The game marked the beginning of guard Lance Stephenson's second 10-day contract with the Pacers. “He's done some very good things,” Carlisle said. Stephenson played 17 minutes and had seven points, five assists and four rebounds.
Green didn't belabor New Orleans' off night shooting from 3-point range, instead emphasizing his team's ability to overcome it — and Ingram's absence — with effort and teamwork around the basket.
In addition to outscoring Indiana by double inside and hitting 93.5% of its free throws, New Orleans had 23 assists on 41 made baskets while committed just 11 turnovers.
“We did a lot of good on the offensive end," Green said. "I know we look at the 3s and we want to pinpoint an area that we didn’t necessarily be efficient in. But other than that, I thought we did a great job.”
Pacers: Host Charlotte on Wednesday.
Pelicans: Visit Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
DJ Strawberry leads Zamalek to BAL bronze against FAP
Former Phoenix Suns player DJ Strawberry led Zamalek to a convincing 97-74 win over FAP in the Basketball Africa League third-place playoff.
Heat, Celtics set for winner-take-all game 7 in conference finals
Boston Celtics (51-31, second in the Eastern Conference) vs. Miami Heat (53-29, first in the Eastern Conference)
Miami Heat find motivation from Dwyane Wade, Draymond Green in forcing Game 7 behind Jimmy Butler's 47-point masterpiece
"Jimmy just brought his competitive will tonight," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after Jimmy Butler's career-defining 47-point effort helped Miami force a Game 7 against Boston. "It was a will that would not let us lose."