Monty Switches Some Things Up and the Pelicans Win an Overtime Thriller

Published: March 9, 2014

When a player is young and makes mistakes in the NBA, he regularly gets a pass as people assume that he will eventually grow out of those mistakes. Coaches, however, don’t seem to get the same pass for a variety of reasons. Whether you think Monty is a good coach or not, I think that we can all agree that he is an inexperienced coach. Yes, this is his fourth year at the helm for the New Orleans franchise, but before this, he never had the lead position at any level. It is safe to say that many of Monty’s philosophies will evolve with time served on the bench, if he gets that opportunity here or perhaps somewhere else.

Fans (and some of our writers) have been frustrated by Monty’s lack of creativity with lineups, and his inability to see the ones that clearly don’t work. We have also been frustrated by his end of game management, most recently his decision to leave Brian Roberts on John Wall at the end of the Wizards game when Austin Rivers is clearly the better defender. Say what you will about Monty, but tonight, he gave us what we have been asking for down the stretch, and the result was a 111-107 overtime win against the Nuggets.

Anthony Morrow hit a clutch basket with 0.9 seconds left to send the game into the extra period, and then Monty played Anthony Davis with four guards for most of the overtime session to help New Orleans outscore the Nuggets 17-13 to get the victory. Anthony Davis was spectacular, scoring 32 points while grabbing 17 rebounds, and swatting 6 shots. And it was the final block that was the key play of overtime, and helped secure the Pelicans third straight victory.

After breaking the tie and putting the Pelicans up 106-104 with 1:22 remaining, Ty Lawson raced down the floor and past his defender, making his way to what seemed like an unprotected rim. Out of nowhere, Anthony Davis’s long arms appeared and stuffed the ball on the backboard. Tyreke Evans got the ball and raced the other way, finally getting to the rim and making a tough layup that pushed the lead to four. And that, for all intents and purposes, was the game.

Anthony Davis took his game to yet another level tonight, and Monty Williams stepped outside of himself a bit to help him get a victory just two days before his 21st birthday. Maybe, just maybe, they are both growing before our very eyes.

Other Notes and Observations

– Anthony Morrow has made me a huge fan of his game. And this was before that clutch shot, heck it was before this game. He has been the exact type of solid role player that good teams need and I really hope Dell Demps can bring him back on a reasonable contract this summer. The guy always plays with passion and has an elite skill that you can depend on night after night. The team must re-sign him this summer.

– In addition to switching it up in overtime, Monty made a move late in the 4th that I want to see more often. With 40 seconds left, the Nuggets had the ball up two. Ty Lawson had been getting by Roberts with ease, so Monty substituted Rivers in for that final defensive stop. The Nuggets actually forced a switch and Rivers was on Aaron Brooks, who took it strong to the hole, but Rivers was with him every step of the way and forced the miss.

– I thought there were some terrible calls in the 4th quarter. A semi phantom call against Rivers that gave Brooks three FT’s (remember Austin getting nearly amputated by Monta Ellis and not getting a call?). There were some hard drives by Tyreke that went unrewarded, and the worst one was a Kenneth Faried travel with less than two minutes ot go that allowed the Nuggets to increase the lead from 2 to 4. I hate complaining about refs, but that sequence of clearly terrible calls nearly cost the Pelicans the game.

– Eric Gordon was invisible in the first half, scored 7 quick points in the third, and then was pretty much invisible again throughout. He gets a slight nod because he is a much better on ball defender than Morrow, but when debating which player I would rather have regardless of money – Gordon or Morrow – I at least have to think about it. And when money gets added into the equation, it is a no brainer.

– Brian Roberts hit a big shot in overtime. Of course, it came right after he let Lawson blow by him for a three-point play to give the Nuggets the lead. But still, he hit a big shot. There, I said something nice.

– Austin Rivers’ box score was nice tonight (13 pts on 11 shots, 5 to 2 assist to turnover ratio), but I thought he played even better than that. Great defense (or maybe it was just good and it seemed great after watching Roberts) and he always had his head up looking for teammates. A pass on a back door cut to Tyreke was one of the prettiest assists of the season. And when he gets a spot up jumper opportunity, I always think they are going in. Off the dribble, though? Totally different story. Work for this summer.

– Tyreke was out of control at times during this game, but the Nuggets had no answer for him in transition. Just a wrecking ball.

– Only 5 points in 53 minutes for our three-headed center combination, but they did pull down 12 rebounds and most importantly, only had 7 fouls. The Denver front line actually draws fouls at a very high rate, and I thought this would be a big issue, but more often than not the Pelicans were in the bonus before the Nuggets.

– With a three game win streak, the tank is officially dead. Can we never talk about it again? Can we root for wins and more nights like tonight where Monty experiments? Can we get some butts in the seats to fill the arena? Can we?


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