The Pelicans Demolish Philadelphia in Ryan Anderson’s Season Debut

Published: November 16, 2013

Let’s just wait until Ryan Anderson comes back until we evaluate this team and its head coach.

This was the plea of several fans and writers as the Pelicans blew huge leads and lost several winnable games over the first two weeks of the season. Well, Ryan Anderson is back, and now it is time to overreact the other way. Print those Finals tickets baby!!

In all seriousness, there was some beautiful basketball being played tonight in the Pelicans 135-98 win some of it a direct result of Ryan Anderson, but not all of it. Tyreke Evans looked incredibly explosive and finished well at the rim for the second straight game, but a lot of that happened without Anderson on the floor. More three’s were taken tonight (a lot more), but that started even before Anderson checked in the game, as the team took three trey’s in their first six minutes – which would put them on pace for 24 (double their average).

But when Anderson was on the court….. Oh that was more beautiful than Josh Childress’s gorgeously poofed afro. Ryno came in and hit his first four shots, scoring ten points in just under five minutes as the Pelicans pushed their lead to 12 at the end of the first quarter. But this game was different because the Pelicans continued to extend their double-digit lead throughout the game. The lead was 21 at the half, and 37 after three quarters. Was that because of Monty changing some things? Was it the Sixers? Was it the other guys stepping up at home after three embarrassing home losses? In all likelihood, it is a little bit of everything mixed with a whole lot of Ryan Anderson.

Notes and Observations

– Easily Jrue Holiday’s best game as a Pelican and it just so happened to come against his former team. 14 points on just 9 shots, 12 assists, and just ONE turnover. He played with great pace, ran the fast break to perfection, and never dribbled into traffic or got stuck in the air. This was the guy that Dell Demps traded two picks for back in July and if he can play like this, it will look like a steal no matter who Philly takes next year.

– The Pelicans had more than 100 points by the end of the third quarter. Free fries were achieved before concession stopped selling beer. That has to be a first.

– Al-Farouq Aminu teases us every couple of games, and since he knew fans would be watching closer than ever with Ryno’s return, he chose to tease us tonight. 10 points on 5 shots and 6 rebounds in just 18 minutes, but that doesn’t even tell half the story. He played with the energy that Monty begs him to play with every night. On nights like these, we hope that we can re-sign him for a decent price. On other nights, we question why he is even on the team.

– Anthony Davis: 28 minutes. 13 points, 9 rebounds, 8 blocks. Perhaps the only bad thing about winning a game by 37 points is that Anthony Davis missed out on his chance to get his first career triple-double. As I said in the preview, the Sixers like to spread you out and get to the rim. Unfortunately for them, the Pelicans have Davis to protect the rim. He terrorized Philadelphia tonight, and if the game were close, we would have witnessed a historic night.

– Jason Smith is no slouch either, as he registered 3 blocks in just 21 minutes. This is the exact role Smith will play now that Ryan Anderson is back, and he was simply phenomenal. 4-4 shooting, 8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, and a +30 in those 21 minutes. So many guys played great tonight, but Smith was my favorite Pelican on this evening because he played within himself and gave the team every ounce of effort he could in the limited time he was out there.

– Speaking of our bigs, Monty went with a three-man rotation when the game was close, and I could see that being the norm moving forward, especially against finesse teams like Philadelphia. Ryno, AD, and Smith could easily play 90 of the 96 minutes at the 4 and 5, while Aminu gets the other 6 in a small ball lineup. Against bigger teams, you could give Amundson or Withey those minutes, but most good teams only play 8 or 9 guys. No reason the Pelicans HAVE to play ten, especially when going from one of their top three bigs to #4 is such a massive downgrade.

– The Pelicans scored 30+ points in every quarter. Now, I understand that the 76ers aren’t world beaters, but neither are the Jazz, Lakers, Magic, or Suns and we lost a total of five games to those teams. This team simply looked different tonight.

– The Pelicans made more three-pointers (13) than they TOOK on average over the first nine games (12). Tonight, they took 28 total, including 10 by Ryan Anderson.

– Eric Gordon was terrific tonight, and I am not mentioning him until right now – that’s how many good things there are to say about tonight’s game. 19 points on just 12 shots, and a team leading three steals to go with three assists and three boards in just 26 minutes. Oh yeah, and Tyreke Evans was fantastic as well. Too many positive things to say, not enough time!!

– And perhaps the biggest upgrade -Monty Williams has grown so much as a coach these past three days. I mean, he looked so much better tonight didn’t he?

– Only guy who played worse tonight? Anthony Morrow. Will the return of Ryan Anderson take away the need to have Morrow on the floor? We won’t know after just one game, but it is something to watch over the next few weeks.

– If there was a garbage time All-Star game, Austin Rivers might get voted in. He got about seven and a half minutes once the game was already decided and he attacked the rim relentlessly while also draining a trey. 12 points on just 6 shots for Rivers, including 3-4 from the line!

– Just so many positives from this game, but let’s wait to we rush to judgment on how good this team will be now that Ryno is back. This team will get a couple of good tests this month before a potentially brutal December. Maybe they will start cranking out wins, maybe not. But if tonight was any indication, this team will be fun to watch!


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