Pelicans snap losing streak against Grizzlies

Published: January 20, 2014

Anthony Davis left his fingerprints all over that game as he showed just what kind of dynamic two-way player he is in the league.  We’ll talk more about him in a bit, but I do need to say this game belongs to the bench.  Ajinca, Withey, Rivers and Evans all had important contributions to the cause, and though the Pelican starters were outplayed at times, the Pelicans bench massacred the Grizzlies bench.

As bad as Rivers and Roberts have been in the past – tonight the duo did a great job.  Roberts played off the ball mostly on the offensive side and knocked down the open shots that were generated, and defensively he did a good job making Conley work to get open by cutting him off and jumping picks.  Then Rivers came in and caused havoc attacking with the ball and delivering continued stout defense.  Add in Ajinca and Withey providing capable post defense against Gasol and the Pelicans managed to hold on to the lead for most of the game.

Because, of course, Anthony Davis was a monster.  He thoroughly dominated Zach Randolph defensively in the first half.  All the normal shots Randolph could get off – short fades and hooks – those were sent back or bothered into a miss.  It was interesting, but it was the third that was the best part of the game for me.  Randolph took the first half personally, and he unleashed everything a savvy post scorer has on Davis.  Up and unders, drop steps, counter-hooks.  He threw the kitchen sink at Anthony – and Davis proved game.  More, Davis responded by attacking on the other end of the court, curling off downscreens, catching on the move and dunking, running the open court, and facing up against his defenders.  He not only matched Randolph’s scoring, he surpassed it.   The only aspect of the game that Randolph had a real advantage was crashing the offensive boards.  Davis kept having to help on penetration and forced numerous misses – but Randolph is the master in that situation, kept slipping in behind Anthony and getting tip in. helping himself to 10 offensive rebounds and a monster 20-22 game.  Can’t blame the young fella for that though.

In the end, it was Davis and Evans operating together that put the game away 95-92.

  • I can hear some of you complaining now when looking at the box score and Tyreke Evans minutes.   Tyreke ended with 26, but he deserved the short minutes he got in the first half because he defended himself better than anyone else.  He kept settling for jumpers, got a back-to-the-basket 5 second call, which is so rarely called I can remember one, and managed to shift gears into “faster than a jog” exactly once.  Rivers, Gordon and Roberts were better options in the first.
  • That five second call was amazing.  Evans got the ball in the post and literally dribbled and watched the court without doing anything.  The team waited for him to make a move, waited, and waited, and waited.  Bizarre.
  • When Rivers attacked, good things happened – either made baskets or tip ins.   It’s nice to see some of those shots he generates going down for him, though he still throws the ball at the basket like a bullet.  Just no touch.
  • Ajinca is a good post defender.  He’s bad in the pick and roll, but in the post?  If he can resist trying to block everything, he’s really, really good.  Couple that with his solid mid-range shot, and against slow-footed centers he’s a great matchup guy.  His big games have been against Hibbert, Robin Lopez and Gasol.   Seems like his most effective niche is clear.
  • Evans in the fourth was a different ball game than in the first.  He was set on attacking, and it kept producing good things.   Glad to see he did what he needed to when the chips were down.
  • I hope Withey didn’t just get those 15 minutes because Stiemsma was in foul trouble.  He was solid out there, and at least isn’t a foul machine.   I’d rather have him on the floor.
  • Gasol needs to grow out his hair.  Whenever he gets bumped he flings his head around like someone knocked him silly.  At one point, Eric Gordon set a pick, and as Gasol ran by him, he flung his head backwards like Gordon had shoved him.  The whistles stayed silent.  The refs know Gordon never hits anyone like that.
  • This is the first game in a while where I felt like we got more favorable calls.

Next game is tomorrow against the Kings!


  1. NOEngineer

    January 20, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Thanks to the Pelicans for a much needed victory.   I was impressed how Evans and Davis battled Stiemsma and Gordon to pull out the victory.    Awesome!     Actually, Gordon had a couple of key rebounds in the 4th to keep if from being a total loss on his part.   When his best contributions are his rebounds, you know he’s having an off night.

    I’m glad to see the well-deserved props to Roberts, Ajinca, Rivers, and Withey.   Roberts played way above expectations tonight, so congrats to him.

  2. champsworld504

    January 21, 2014 at 12:20 am

    I loved to see Withey get all of those crunch time minutes. Plus he didn’t look lost out there. That’s big in his development. AD the closer? I’m good with it, shoot it with confidence homie. I’ve prayed for a competent big man to play with AD and Ajincia actually played well. Both of them deserve more PT over Greg steamin pile, you get the idea. Roberts showed up, so did Rivers. If we don’t tank at least develop the youngin’s and keep Tyreke’s ankles over 90%

  3. Come On Pelican

    January 21, 2014 at 7:40 am

    During Sunday’s television broadcast, it was mentioned several times that Tyreke Evans only feels like he’s at 75%, which brings up an important issue about a man playing injured in today’s NBA, especially for a team that’s still in rebuilding mode as this Pelicans team is and for whom wins are largely meaningless.  Supposedly the MRIs have shown there’s no real risk of permanent damage to Tyreke’s ankle by playing whenever he feels up to it.  That’s a bit remarkable, recalling how gruesome a couple of his ankle rolls looked in slow motion.  What we’re starting to see, however, are flashes of the old CP3 when the man would fight through pain and gut it out to give it his all out there on the court.  Let’s hope the recent media reports about a possible Evans trade are untrue, because the kind of tenacity, slashing, energy, ball handling/movement and leadership that Tyreke shows when he goes out there on the court night after night at 75% should make every Pelicans fan salivate at the thought of his playing a full season in a New Orleans uniform at 100% (hopefully that will be next year).

  4. ryanschwan

    January 21, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Come On PelicanTyreke has his limitations, but when he’s feeling healthy and is focused on attacking, he’s a major bonus.

    Sacramento was stupid when they shifted him off the ball, but still kept him starting.  He should operate as a PG/primary ball handler most of the time he plays, because he’s not much of a threat as a perimeter distraction.  That’s playing away from his strengths.  
    Still, I guess if you have Beno Udrih, you just have to put the ball in his hands, right?

  5. 504ever

    January 21, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Come On Pelican
    Remember, the source of the trade Evan story was the New York Daily News.  Since when has the News broken any major or minor story?  Oh wait, it hasn’t.  I bet the trading Evans part is incorrect.  It’s hard to believe we sign a guy to a long term deal, have him playing well and through injury, and look to trade him.  Evans looks to be be our 3rd best player, a physical defender and driver, and complimentary to Drue’s shooting. It is hard to see us trading Evans now.

  6. Major504

    January 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    All I have to say is AD is a BEAST!. I think the time has started to believe in him as a leader. Reke showed that last night, by not forcing the shot and trusting in AD. I hope to see more from this duo.

  7. Caffeinedisaster

    January 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I enjoyed what I saw from Jeff WHITEY!!!

  8. Caffeinedisaster

    January 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    It seemed like Roberts couldn’t miss.
    Brow was EVERYWHERE! (proving he can play against 2 All Star bigs)
    Austin/Withey played well.  Loved watching them play D.  
    All around fight showed by our team.

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