“We gotta stay in-between the highs and lows.. cause it helps you think better. It helps you keep the season in perspective.” -Monty Williams after the game.
It’s a good time to be even. After falling behind by as many as 12 points in the 4th quarter, the Pelicans rallied behind their new Big 5 of Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, and Jrue Holiday to climb back to .500 in the standings.
It was a rough start. The Pelicans were getting deflections, but couldn’t get their hands on the ball.. and the Cavs were burning us for it. In fact, no one could catch the ball, period. It was ugly. No one could stop the Cavs, who ARE HORRIBLE AT THE RIM, from scoring there.
In the theme of the night, Tyreke Evans brought us back. 19 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 turnovers, and he earned every bit of his +18 rating tonight. Tyreke is back and wreaking havoc, and I love it.
The Pelicans struggled to contain Andrew Bynum tonight and were lucky that his 50 year old knees only allowed him to play 18 minutes, because he killed them: if he wasn’t scoring, he was altering shots or drawing double-teams and making the right pass.
Jrue’s defense on Kyrie Irving was fantastic. Irving had one stretch of 7 points in a few possessions, but it started with the Pelicans doubling hard on Bynum in the post and leaving Irving open for 3. Jrue tailed him around screens and kept him from doing too much of anything. Irving made a nice run at the end of the game, but was stymied for the rest of it.
Jarrett Jack received the always-infuriating 150% skill boost that every ex-New Orleans player seems to get and was 9-13 from the field. How typical.
The Pelicans defense was off almost the entire night, with players like Earl Clark and Sergey Karasev reaping the benefits of botched or slow rotations. Dion Waiters was making life miserable for the Pelicans for a couple of stretches as well.
And then IT happened. The Big 5 happened. The Pelicans were down 12 with under 5 minutes to play, and then it started.
Jrue hit a huge 3.
Davis drilled a pair of free throws.
Anderson hit a 3.
Tyreke drove in transition and missed, but was followed by Anthony Davis.
Evans hit a layup to put the Pelicans ahead, but Kyrie answered..
Jrue found Gordon in the corner for a 3 to take the lead.
Aminu was subbed in for defense and the Pelicans got a stop.
Tyreke was intentionally fouled and hit both free throws.
Jrue was intentionally fouled and hit both free throws.
This win meant a lot to both the players and the coaches. Players were chest-bumping on the court. Monty Williams brought back his chest-bump after years of retirement. Players were singing in the shower.
And it meant a lot to me. The Pelicans have struggled playing from behind all season. Anthony Davis wasn’t playing well tonight, but kept with it and made huge plays at the end of the game. Gordon had some bad moments but hit a huge shot and was aggressive all game. Tyreke was great all game. Jrue was great all game. Ryno hit some huge shots. It was a team effort tonight.
Aminu works hard, but he kills our offense. He is no threat to score from the perimeter and can’t handle the ball. That said, he is valuable as a stretch 4 defender and works hard on the boards.
Rivers got minutes tonight and Roberts didn’t see the floor. I’m not sure if it was situational or whether Rivers has replaced Roberts in the lineup, but this marks the second consecutive night that Roberts lost time to Rivers. This is something to watch going forward.
Like Monty says, we must take this win in stride.. this is not a good Cavs team and our defense was bad most of the game. But the team came up big when it counted, and that means something. The team faces an insanely tough back-to-back with San Antonio and Golden State, and times only get tougher. But for tonight, celebrate, because this was a hell of a comeback.