Pelicans Beat Cavaliers, Anthony Davis Shines

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Published: January 28, 2014

As I said in the preview the rest of the season for the New Orleans Pelicans is all about Anthony Davis. But do you want to know what was so great about the 100-89 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers? Even with Anthony Davis’ huge game, it wasn’t actually all about him. Nearly everyone who played significant minutes contributed to the victory. Yes, the team was carried by Davis and Eric Gordon, but how often are people just generally pleased with the team’s performance?

This is the way the Pelicans’ offense should run. Feed Davis and have everyone else chip in. During the big man’s first season we marveled at how advanced his offensive game was. This season it’s taken another big step. He kills you on the pick and roll, can cut baseline, play with his back to the basket, or just consistently make a nice mid-range jumper. There are other players who can score on this team, but none do so as efficiently and effectively as Davis does. 30 points on 18 shots and 7 attempted free throws is outstanding.

And then there is the absolutely insane defense. Davis tied his career high with 8 blocks which was more than the number of shots he missed. But, more than that, he altered multiple others that he couldn’t quite get a finger on. If you cannot get your hand on the ball to block a shot you at least want to obscure the shooter’s vision of the rim. Davis pretty much does that anytime he gets those Go Go Gadget arms above his shoulders. Impacting the game on both ends of the court is how you become a top 10 player in the league. Davis is certainly on his way.

But I did say this was a great team win, so how did everyone else do?

–I was pretty happy with what Brian Roberts did tonight. He focused more on facilitating the offense rather than being the focal point. He’s a great spot up shooter from behind the arc and I like him better as an off ball guard. Let him hang out beyond the three point line and receive kick out passes.

–Greg Stiemsma had a strong game and it earned him 31 minutes. He set a career high with 11 rebound and finished 1 point shy of a double-double. It certainly helps that Varejao was out but Stiemsma still deserves credit for you know actually taking advantage and playing well. This will probably earn him more burn going forward than he should have, and at the expense of Withey, but such is the Monty Williams school of thought. Oh, and he had 4 fouls.

–It seemed that Tyreke Evans wasn’t fully recovered from his illness or still getting back up to game speed tonight. He shot 20% from the field and didn’t look like his usual self picking up 5 fouls and 3 turnovers. Knowing this he looked to pass more than normal which led to him picking up 5 assists. It allowed more for Anthony Davis to operate which I think we’re all okay with.

–Austin Rivers had a scary moment where the knee of a defender went right into his back and caused what looked like spasms. Luckily, as a few moments on the ground he popped back up and made his free throws. As Ryan pointed out this week, Rivers has made a significant leap this season and for him to have that progress setback by injury would have been disappointing.

–Darius Miller is doing a great job of carving out solid rotation minutes with his play. He understands what the team needs from him and just comes out and does it. Space the floor with his strong shooting from deep and make some nice passes to keep the ball movement going.

–And we have Eric Gordon. He’ll have games like this. 20 points and 9 assists. And it will unfortunately be overshadowed by Davis. Gordon talked this week about how Monty Williams’ offense doesn’t need him to put up points to score effectively. However it was nice to see that Monty recognized the team would need someone to score and allowed Gordon to do so.

–And lastly the defense. Still plenty of issues there since Anthony Bennett put up a career high 15 points.

11 Comments

  1. thouse

    January 28, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Didnt think the defense was that bad tonight. Still had rebounding and fouling issues, but Cavs missing so many FTs made it a laugher. Dont care about Bennett getting a career high. Right now, that guy taking more shots is a winning bet for the opposing team.

  2. Jason Quigley

    January 28, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I’d like to see some statistics of our winning percentage when Gordon has a lot of assists. He makes some stupid plays on offense, so when he actually makes good passes to his teammates resulting in good plays, I feel like that’s a lot better for the team than him trying to pull his best Tyreke impression and blindly crash into the paint…where he usually loses the ball.

    Davis is something special. Sometimes you have to just sit back and watch and marvel at what he’s able to do.

  3. 504ever

    January 28, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Jake, 
    Agree with everything except your comment about the Pelican’s defense.  We held the Cavs to 41% shooting and 89 points, and the Cav’s were behind the Pels in these team stats:  offensive and defensive rebounds, assists, and blocks.  The other team stats we were behind, steals/ turnovers Irvin, is due to Kyrie Irving.

  4. Jake Madison

    January 28, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    504ever  I was mainly making a joke about how bad Bennett has been. Wasn’t really a knock on the defense. The team did a good job tonight.

  5. mojart

    January 28, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Another MONSTER game by AD…

  6. nolahog

    January 28, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    The headline should have been “New Orleans ICES the Cavs.”

  7. Jake Madison

    January 28, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    @nolahog I was thinking about starting off with a joke about Davis taking all of the heat from the city to Cleveland with him!

  8. NOEngineer

    January 29, 2014 at 4:40 am

    I have to give credit to Stiemsma.  He played a solid game.   Monty is a genius for knowing that this would happen.
    Zero turnovers for Gordon (as well as Davis and Stiemsma and Miller and Morrow).   The wild swings in his performance lately are mind-boggling…..
    I love to see Davis’ competitiveness, but returning to the game with taped fingers does not seem wise.  I sure hope he stays healthy.    I would have rather seen Withey mop up those last few minutes.
    Missed our only winning third quarter in recent memory due to power outage.  Damn you, Entergy!

  9. champsworld504

    January 29, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Good solid win for the Pels! Why no Withey? At least I don’t have to call Steisma a “big steamin pile of” today. No Pekovic for the wolves so that’s a big break. AD the beast better be in the all-star game!

  10. champsworld504

    January 29, 2014 at 9:10 am

    one more thing: I would’ve loved to hear the cavs commentating crew attempt to explain this loss away

  11. macs21

    January 29, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    champsworld504 Weren’t they just brutal to listen to.. I had to switch games at one point because I couldn’t handle any more of that one guys ridiculous commentary

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