Tyreke Evans Magnificent as Pelicans End Four Game Losing Streak

Published: December 24, 2013

The Sacramento Kings thought $11 million a year was too much to pay for Tyreke Evans. Instead, they waited a few months and traded some assets for Rudy Gay, who will make $18 million this year and $19 million next year. Thank God for terrible franchises.

Tonight Tyreke Evans was amazing, going for 25 points on 14 shots, with 12 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals in the Pelicans 113-100 win. Meanwhile, Rudy Gay was 2-12 and had six turnovers in 39 minutes of play. Safe to say, Rudy Gay won’t be looking at the stat sheet tonight. If he did, he would see two other Pelicans had double-doubles as Anthony Davis went for 21 and 11, and Jrue Holiday dropped 17 and 10. Al-Farouq Aminu was terrific as well, scoring 13 points on 8 shots while also grabbing 8 boards and forcing numerous turnovers.

Eric Gordon led the charge early, scoring 11 of the Pelicans first 20 points, but he went down in the third quarter with a knee contusion and never returned. The only Pelican regular who struggled tonight was Ryan Anderson, but he hit the dagger three off an assist by Tyreke Evans to put the Pelicans up 10 with just over three minutes to go.

The first three quarters were ugly, and it required a Herculean effort by Evans to keep them in the game, but he did just that. Now, the Pelicans return home to play the Nuggets just two games under .500, with a legit shot at the playoffs if they can stay healthy and continue to improve each and every game. And as you celebrate Christmas just 30 or so hours from now, don’t forget to give thanks for the present Sacramento gave us a little over five months ago.

Other Notes and Observations

– Jrue Holiday started the game off slowly, and was outplayed most of the night by Isaiah Thomas. I have no idea why the Pelicans didn’t try to put Holiday in the post against a guy 7 inches shorter, but Holiday stepped up late and hit a few big shots that helped the Pelicans pull away.

– Alexis Ajinca was also a big part of the Pelicans 20-5 run that helped put this game away. With the Pelicans up by just 3, Ajinca had a layup and followed that on the next possession with a huge put back slam. And just like that, the lead was up to 7. Ajinca was a foul machine and had a couple of bonehead plays in the first half, but I don’t know if they win the game without him tonight.

– It sounds like Eric Gordon could have come back into the game if the Pelicans really needed him tonight. Jason Smith also seems to be getting better. Is it possible that we see a fully healthy team (minus Stiemsma) Friday against the Nuggets? It sure looks like it.

– Ryan Anderson can’t defend Demarcus Cousins, but I am not sure anybody on this roster can. Monty seemed okay with Anderson covering Cousins one-on-one, a strategy I agree with. As I said in the preview, Isaiah Thomas is the guy who makes this Kings offense hum. Cousins is a monster in the post, but the rest of the guys just stand around while he operates down there. He is also the team leader in turnovers, and he had 4 more tonight. The Pelicans defended Cousins straight up, and as a result, the Kings only had four half-court three’s tonight. On the 27 possessions that ended with either a Cousins shot, free throw, or turnover, the Kings only scored 24 points. I will take that every time.

– Tonight was a classic Aminu tease game. He played with tons of energy and even hit numerous jumpers. This is the guy that we would all love to see signed to a long-term contract. But I won’t fall for it, not again. I will hold out for him to put 5 or 6 games like this together in a row before I get all giddy.

– Combined stats for Darius Miller, Anthony Morrow, and Lou Amundson: 17 minutes, zero points, 1 rebound, 1 block, and 5 fouls, -10. Brian Roberts wasn’t much better until the Kings put Jimmer on him and he hit a few shots. Unfortunately, Jimmer came right back at him and scored a quick 7 of his own. Bottom line, is that this team can’t afford injuries because the “next man up” is terrible. Eventually, this team will need some real depth to get through a long and grueling season.

– AD just hasn’t been the same since coming back from injury, but the guy has averaged 21 and 11 since returning. His ‘bad’ is everyone else’s great.

– The Kings shot 42 free throws tonight. Luckily, they missed 11 of them or this game would have been much closer. Time after time we see the opposing team get into the bonus early in quarters. Not only does this team give up a high field goal percentage, but now they are starting to foul at a ridiculous level too. To say that this defense has a long way to go would be an understatement.

– Two playoff spots for the taking. Dallas, New Orleans, Minnesota, and Denver will likely be the contenders (no offense Phoenix, but I am not a believer). After all that has happened early on, the postseason is still very much in play. That is why I asked for team health for Christmas.

– And speaking of Christmas, Happy Holidays to all. Enjoy your time with loved one’s and go out and support the Pelicans Friday night if you can. The first win against a .500+ team awaits!


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