Pelicans Silence Jazz On Emotional Night
One hour before tip-off in Wednesday night's contest between the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz, players learned the tragic news of the passing of Ingrid Williams.
Williams, the 44 year old wife of former Pelicans head coach Monty Williams, died Wednesday after a tragic car accident Tuesday in Oklahoma City. They have 5 children between the ages of 17 and 5.
On an emotional night for the Pelicans after learning the tragic news, New Orleans leaned on their All-Star down the stretch to beat the Jazz 100-96.
Anthony Davis was 1-5 in the first half, only scoring 3 points.
"I had a lot on my mind with Coach Monty," said Davis to FOX Sports reporter Jen Hale following the win. "That's tough. I'm real close with him and his family. It was just weighing on me the whole first half."
In the second half, Davis scored 16, including a 3 pointer in the final minute, going 6 of 10 and pulling down several clutch rebounds.
"I tried to clear my mind and help the team win and worry about (the Williams situation) later," said Davis. "It's just a tough situation for him and his family...and for all of us here too because he was part of our family. "
Monty Williams was head coach in New Orleans from 2010-2015, coaching Davis in his first three seasons. His wife Ingrid was a big part of the team, helping Davis adjust to NBA life.
"My first two years, she was like my second Mom. She always invited me to the house, to dinner, just to get away from everything. (She) knew I didn't have anyone down here with me my first two years," explained Davis. "She welcomed me with open arms. She was a sweet lady and always made sure that everyone in the organization was fine. I know it's weighing a lot on coach Monty...I don't know how it feels, honestly. It's a tough situation. I hope everyone keeps him and the kids kids in their prayers."
New Orleans bench was key. Led by Jrue Holiday's 21 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block, the Pelicans bench finished with a combined 49 points, 22 boards, 12 assists, 5 steals and Holiday's block.
"When we have our first unit struggle, we need our bench to come in and give us a spark," said Davis. "They helped keep us in the game. Credit to those guys."
Head coach Alvin Gentry tried to answer questions about the resiliency of his team in Wednesday's win, but his heart was heavy.
"It's really, really tough," said Gentry. "Anybody that knows Monty and his family knows the high character and class....To lose a wife and a mother when you have 5 kids is such a tragic thing."
Gentry noted the team said a prayer before the game for Williams after learning of the news.
"When you know a guy like Monty, and what he...and what he's all about, you realize it's just a basketball game," said a crying Gentry, who had to end his press conference prematurely as he couldn't hold back his tears.
Monty Williams is currently an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Pelicans travel to OKC tonight for their game on Thursday with the Thunder.
Davis added that he plans to visit coach Williams. He will likely be joined by some of his teammates.
12 of the 15 players currently on the Pelicans roster played for Williams in New Orleans.