A single victory can’t possibly make up for losing Anthony Davis for an undetermined amount of time with a broken hand, but that’s life as a New Orleans Pelicans fan. Ryan Anderson was a terror on offense, Tyreke Evans played well throughout, and Al-Farouq Aminu did the little things required late to win an ugly game as the birds squeaked out a win against a mediocre Knicks squad.
Our guys really didn’t come out of the gates playing very well on offense, to say the least. As the first quarter drew to a close their field goal percentage was somewhere around 24. I’d like to say they settled too much, but the results were just as bad from near as they were from far– 2-9 from the paint and 2-10 from outside. Yuck.
While the Pelicans probably couldn’t handle a quarter of ineptitude quite like we saw tonight against an elite squad, the Knicks are elite only in wasting money and talent. The deficit was only four after the first.
The second quarter started with a flurry of action… on twitter. We got word that Anthony Davis was sitting on the sideline in obvious pain, his left hand appearing to be the culprit. He would disappear to the locker room for the majority of the quarter, a development lost on the TV crew who didn’t even mention his disappearance until he had already returned to the bench.
Almost immediately upon seeing Davis back on the sidelines news broke that he’d suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left hand and would miss not only the rest of the game but substantially more time. How much remains to be seen.
On the court the Pelicans plodded along, continuing their ugly play from the first quarter while finding more success from the field as their shots began to fall against the ever porous Knicks D. Again, it was fortunate their opposition was the Knicks and not a real NBA defense.
It was also fortunate that Ryan Anderson is healthy and able to take the place of Anthony Davis in the starting lineup. He was the go-to scorer, connecting on 8 of his 14 shots in the second and third quarters. Three of those were triples, and his 20 points paced the Pelicans as they erased a five point halftime deficit. He would finish with 31 points on 21 shots.
They held a seven point lead and appeared primed to enter the fourth quarter with a solid advantage, but the final 50 seconds didn’t go according to plan. Missed free throws by Evans, a three second violation by Amundson, and a bad foul by Roberts left the Pelicans with only a 76-74 lead as they entered the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter opened with Amundson- Aminu- Evans- Rivers- Roberts, which as you can expect didn’t go well on defense. (I literally wrote that last sentence before the quarter started). While Monty can’t be faulted for the Knicks getting hot from three-land, it’s hard to think they won’t take open three’s when they’re available. Plus, which matchup didn’t favor the Knicks on offense?
Monty needed a better defense out there. Offensively we did alright thanks to the Knicks pure lack of skill, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the defensive shortcomings. Four minutes in they’d been outscored by eight and Monty had to call timeout for his team to gather their composure. I just don’t quite get why he insists on trotting out entire units of bench players game after game to start the fourth quarter.
Holiday and Anderson came in for Rivers and Amundson and within 40 seconds the score was even. Thanks, guys!
From there on out the Pelicans did their thing, playing average offense and passable defense which is essentially designed to encourage the opposition to play hero-ball. Believe it or not, the Knicks obliged. They took long shot after long shot, followed by long shots. Carmelo and co made a few here and there, and Eric Gordon certainly made things interesting with an untimely turnover, but the Knicks are just too bad right now to do anything but lose.
We may have won the battle, but it’s hard to see how beating a weak Knicks team and losing Anthony Davis for at least a few weeks helps in the war. We’ll take a bittersweet victory over the alternative, but it’s hard to be happy after this one.
It didn’t really fit in my review since I’m not doing bullets, but Tyreke Evans played one of his best games of the season despite not making a single shot from outside the paint. He drove successfully, didn’t settle too much, and avoided making costly mistakes. He wound up with 24 points on 13 shots, 7 assists, 4 steals and just 1 turnover. Find me another wing who can say they scored 24 on 13 shots without making anything outside the paint.