Pelicans Bulls Basketball

Pelicans guard E'Twaun Moore, also an E.C. Central grad, shoots over Bulls guard Justin Holiday during the first half Saturday in Chicago.

David Banks, Associated Press

CHICAGO — It might have been the finest moment of E'Twaun Moore's NBA career, and definitely as a Bulls player.

It was March 5, 2015, and big, bad Oklahoma City was at the sold out United Center with guard Russell Westbrook, it's version of the Energizer Bunny.

The Bulls fought back from a 16-point deficit to win 108-105 on Moore's 3-pointer while falling out of bounds with Westbrook on him like a second skin.

Moore, an East Chicago native, finished with a season-high 19 points as the Bulls improved to 39-23.

Now with the Pelicans, that breakout night still brings a smile to his face.

"That definitely was a big game for me," Moore said before Saturday's game with the Bulls. "We played on national TV and against the MVP of the league last year.

"People saw that I could play this game at a high level and that I belonged in the league."

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard is in his seventh season and second with New Orleans.

"That (OKC) game helped me a lot in getting noticed by other teams and players throughout the league."

Coach Alvin Gentry, reported to be on the hot seat, believes Moore is a great fit with superstars Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jrue Holiday. That's just fine with the E.C. Central grad.

"He's been great," Gentry said. "Other than A.D. last year, E'Twaun was probably our most consistent player. He's easy to overlook, simply because he's solid and does what he does.

"There's not a whole lot of flashy play to his game, but look at his line on the stat sheet and you see his real value."

Moore scored a career-high 24 points in the Pelcians' 123-101 rout of the Cavaliers on Oct. 28. No one in either locker room was suprised.

"That's my role — try to contribute something every night, defensively, offensively, providing a spark, making hustle plays," Moore said.

"I want the coach to know when he plays me, I'm gonna give him something every night. That's my goal. That's what I strive for. It's enabled me to stay in the league this long."

An on-and-off starter, Moore entered Saturday's game averaging 10.9 points, 2.5 assists, shooting 50 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc.

And he's far from satisfied.

"I play to win," Moore said, "I do so many things on the court. I'm always working on improving my game.

"I can always get better."

Coaches love that mindset.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

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