If we loose to the suns again the anger sharks will definitely be swimming in my head....
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Anthony Davis Refuses to Lose, as the Pelicans Defeat the Lakers
I don’t know why, but I couldn’t help but notice the symmetry and the irony in tonight’s game, as the Pelicans defeated the Lakers 96-85. David Stern was in the house this evening, and it was impossible not to think back to the nixed CP3 to the Lakers deal that involved Pau Gasol (who went 3-12 tonight). That aborted trade changed the course of so many franchises, and in a round about way, brought Anthony Davis to New Orleans. And here we were, almost two years removed from that fateful night where David Stern altered the course of the NBA, and that same Anthony Davis put up 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
And it doesn’t stop there. Who was the second leading scorer for the Pelicans? None other than Eric Gordon – the centerpiece of the Chris Paul trade that Stern pushed through. And the Lakers leading scorer? Yep, you guessed it, Chris Kaman. Sometimes writers have to create a story when there isn’t one there, but this one writes itself. As the Pelicans paid homage to the man who saved their team from extinction, the team showed that they are not only still alive, but they are now relevant thanks to the budding superstar that is here because of a man named Stern.
Other Notes and Observations
– As I said in the title, Anthony Davis just refused to lose tonight. The 20-year-old on a rookie contract took three guards making 37 million per year and 9 other guys and simply threw them on his back tonight. If this were hockey, where you have to give three stars of the game, I would be tempted to give Anthony Davis all three spots. He was that good, and at times, his teammates were that bad, at least offensively. In past seasons, the Pelicans would have lost this game because they would have lacked a star to step up and take control. They don’t lack that anymore.
– Jason Smith was hitting his mid-range jumper again, well at least the contested ones. It’s weird with Smith; when a guy has a hand in his face, I am sure he will knock them down, but if you leave him wide open, he seems to miss those 18-footers more than he makes them. Thankfully, the Lakers contested somewhat tonight and Smith finished with 14 points on 7-12 shooting.
– The second unit was disturbingly bad in the second quarter, with several possessions running through Greg Stiemsma. One possession involved only three players, as Roberts dribbled (and dribble and dribbled) before passing it to Stiemsma in the post, who kicked it out to Lance Thomas at the free throw line for a jumper. Result? Airball. You are paying Tyreke Evans 44 million dollars to play limited minutes and change the game off the bench. Why then, does he sit in the corner while three borderline NBA players operate in some kind of a sadistic triangle offense? Why, Monty? WHY?
– 13 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals for Jrue Holiday. Yes, there were some bad shots (5-15) and some head scratching turnovers (4) mixed in there, but with a superstar big on this team in Anthony Davis, I will be thrilled to get those numbers from Jrue every night.
– Eric Gordon was super efficient and played some great defense down the stretch, but I honestly question if anybody has ever taught him how to run a fast break before. On multiple occasions he just put his head down and didn’t even look up to pass to anybody who was running with him. Then, on the one time he did give it up, he did it FAR too soon. For those who didn’t see the game, imagine this: Three-on-One break, Gordon in the middle flanked by Davis and Aminu at half court. He passes it to Davis at about the three-point line. Davis, then has to drive it in from there and get fouled. Who runs a fast break like that?!? All that said, nice game Eric, and a very good season so far.
– Brian Roberts, 0-5 and 6 fouls in 12 minutes. Now I know he has had some good minutes this year and I am not overreacting to this game because I said this in the podcast last night – the Pelicans need to cut down to a 9 man rotation, losing Roberts for now. Two of the three big money guards should be on the court at all times, and Morrow’s spacing is needed. In tonight’s game for instance, you take away Roberts 12 minutes and you give 7 to Evans (he got 27) and 5 to Gordon (31). Done and done.
– Austin Rivers and Jeff Withey played the final 8 seconds tonight!
– If you just looked at the box score, you would say, “Wow, nice game from Stiemsma!” Nobody who actually watched the game would say that though.
– I talked on the podcast about how you have to live with the occasional games where Al-Farouq Aminu doesn’t show up. Tonight was one of those nights. 19 minutes, 2 points on 4 shots, and just 1 defensive rebound. Gonna need a bounce back game or two on this mini road trip.
– The Pelicans held the #1 three-point shooting team in the NBA to just 6 makes on 19 attempts, mostly because they used a variety of different schemes to confuse the Lakers and their energy was terrific for most of the night. Just one really wide open three-pointer (by Steve Blake) that I can recall. Great effort tonight.
– The Pelicans play the Suns on Sunday, as Ryan Anderson has been upgraded to Day-to-Day. Hopefully we will see him at some point on this mini road trip. Oh yeah, and Anthony Davis is amazing. Thanks, Donald!
Michael, I take issue with your comment about Gordon not being taught about running the break. He grew up in Indiana and had terrific coaching from his dad, in school and AAU ball. He understands the game and plays it the right way. Sometimes, like any player he'll make a poor decision. Who doesn't?
The play you reference late 3rd quarter, Gordon gave it up to AD who had to dribble the ball once, went hard to the rim, got whacked and made 2 at the line. You could have contrasted that play with a similar situation late 4th quarter. Gordon waited a split second longer, fed it to AD who finished at the rim without dribbling and one.
Funnest game of the year so far. Monty has been taking some heat lately for the lack of defense in the losses, and rightfully so, but kudos should be given to him for pushing Anthony Davis to be more assertive in establishing himself as the leader of this team, and as a star in this league. I am so glad Davis is on this team. With that being said, I really believe that Monty needs to do the same with Tyreke on the second unit. Tyreke needs to be bringing the ball up on every possession when the second unit is out there, and he should be a "ball hog" who takes it upon himself to make things happen. He is not being nearly as aggressive as he should be. I personally believe he will get back into a rhythm when he gets that mentality.
@lsucpolk i agree...tyreke should be a point forward..a la scottie pippin
Gordon also had a sweet pass of the break to a rim running Davis right down the center of the lane….Holiday did a nice job with excellent court vision up the floor for a couple of nice assists off the break…….Davis ( just finished watching him) was a joy to watch….his "so smooth" and covers a lot of ground running style will be a total pain the the booty for others to have to deal with….that dunk of the catch at the top of the circle…catch…one step WHAM! was school yard like….so very nice to watch…..Evans has been to robotic…"just play buddy" you're supposed to change the tempo and style of the game...
Good win but we still need a true big at center and small forward.Evans is not going to be a Pel for long he'll be traded.
@Papa Pelican WOW! Thats a lot…three position…if i could one for now it would be small fwd who can score….that would really open up the floor….Aminu is like that date that teases you all night and says.."i gotta go now, i have to get up early"..and you sit there begging ( LOL)
Our weakness is at SF & Center Aminu is more of a defender than an offensive threat,center is weak on defense and Evans a scorer but not much of a defender.
I agree with a lot of what you mentioned, but I think steamer had a decent game, I mean we know he is not gonna be an offensive player, but he altered some shots, got some tough offensive and defensive rebound and even put in a few points
@ByronMarcusWashington Agreed, Steamer had the awful running hook airball and he's a non-entity on offense, but at least he's grabbing rebounds and blocking and affecting shots now. As long as we don't expect to see the next Bob Lanier (or Emeka Okafor) it seems like he can fill his role adequately ... giving Smitty a spell on the bench after he picks up his inevitable third foul
I'm really shocked at Tyreke. I've watched him for years and he's a much better player than what he's been in a Pelican uniform. Even if he's having difficulties adjusting to the system, his talent should show up because he's a professional basketball player. Could it be he lacks confidence in his game?
@LaNative David Wesley and Joel Meyers mentioned this (his apparent lack of confidence) quickly during the game last night, but never returned to the point. How can Tyreke turn in Oscar Robertson numbers his rookie year and now be a mere shell of the player he once was?
@LaNative Evans needs to relax and let it rip…..tell him " you're my 6th man and that means you need to change the game…get your personality into it….loosen up and just play"..he does seem uptight does;t he?…I agree with you.
@fixthefreakingpotholes @LaNative He seems worried that he'll be looked at as a selfish player…i'd like to see him get into the true role of a 6th man….change the game…attack and let it rip…be an energy guy….i do question if he is suited to be a 6th maN…REQUIRES A PERSONALITY THAT LOVES THE ROLE….must be able to quickly "get into the game" and play from the get go….
Loved watching Davis tonight. Near the end of the game he looked like he was having the time of his life. At least he had the game of his life, and it was fun to watch.
If I had to complain about something, though, it'd be 3-point shooting. When we get into games that are close in the last few minutes or have to come from behind I don't know if we can do it because our shooting has been lacking. Hoping Anderson's return helps with that (a LOT).
And @ McNamara, that part on Gordon is so true and I was thinking the same thing. He's so frustrating to watch on the fastbreak when he just looks like he doesn't know what to do.
Wish this team would jell more so their margin for error wasn't so small. Currently, their wins have come with 6 players playing well, or 5 and Davis playing like a superstar. But I'll take 3-3 and tied for 8th in the West after how we started.
P.S. to Michael: On your second unit 3 person bad play, Thomas shot his airball with 10 seconds left on the shot clock. So that is on Lance. There was plenty of time to pass the ball again. And, in the bigger picture, an Anderson, Evans, Roberts, and Morrow led 2nd unit should be pretty nice. (I am still hoping we add Okafor to that group in our post season push later this year in place of Stiemsma.)
It feels great to come here and talk about the greatness of our superstar, Anthony Davis, and not who to hire after we fire Monty. AD just does everything out there. And to the Lakers "fans" sitting in front and behind me at tonight's game :