Anthony Davis Gets the Pelicans Over the Hump in San Antonio

Published: November 8, 2014

You had that same feeling in your gut that you know so well by now. As the Pelicans double-digit lead kept shrinking in the final minutes, you knew that something would happen. You knew that the first 45 minutes were too good to be true and that somehow, someway, the Pelicans were going to blow this one. And they almost did. Or the Spurs almost stole it, I can’t decide. But then a single brow swooped down from the heavens and saved us all. With the Pelicans trailing 99-98 and 12 seconds left to go, Monty Williams got AD the ball at the top of the key and he took his man off the dribble for an easy layup. One defensive stop (and a few heart attacks) later, and the Pelicans moved to 3-2.

Davis was amazing yet again, going off for 27 points on 17 shots with 11 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 4 steals. He is, undeniably, a superstar and those MVP chants that he gets at the SKC might not seem crazy for long. Expect to hear them for the next ten years every time he steps to the line. The Pelicans got great efforts from everybody and they deserve some praise (will get it below), but this night was about Anthony Davis standing toe to toe with the NBA Champions and showing them that he is the best player on the floor and he can will his team to victory over an elite team. The Pelicans haven’t been beating good Western Conference teams that often these past few years. Tonight, they just beat the best.

Notes and Observations

– Omer Asik looked exhausted most of the night. He was the only Pelican crashing the offensive glass on most possessions and the Spurs had four bodies beating him up down there every time. On the other end, he had to come out of the paint far more often than usual and had to chase Tony Parker around quite a bit. I thought this would be a game where he could play 35+ minutes, but I don’t know if he physically can. Good thing we have Ryno.

– Speaking of Ryno, he was just 3-10 tonight, but all three of the shots he made came from beyond the arc and they came at key times as the Spurs looked poised to make a run or take the lead. Pop usually put Austin Daye or some other SF/PF hybrid on him, but Anderson drew a lot of attention, and that got others open. On the defensive end, he competed without fouling. Duncan scored on him on the block a couple of times, but he held his own for the most part.

– Popovich can do the craziest things and look like a genius. Down by 10 with 4:42 left, he pulled his Big Three and put in Danny Green, Cory Joeseph, and Aaron Baynes. And of course, it almost worked. It looked like the young Pels were just running away with the game, so Pop went with fresh, young legs and that caught the Pels off guard. They really struggled offensively and after a questionable call, it looked like the Spurs might complete the comeback. But again, Anthony Davis. Still, it goes to show that there is no conventional wisdom, and that maybe we should just let coaches do their job.

– Tyreke Evans can not make layups. Luckily, he got out in front of everyone a few times for some dunks and he is also still hitting his jumper. Also, three of the layups he missed were cleaned up by big men, and oh yeah, he hit huge buckets at the end of the 2nd and 3rd quarters to really shift momentum. Kawhi gave him problems once or twice in the post, but for the most part, Evans defended him well. Do we have a SF who can defend Lebron or Durant? No. But Tyreke can hold down the fort against most guys.

– Jrue Holiday went down into the post once against Tony Parker. Once. And he got an easy layup. I just don’t understand his shot selection and/or how he is utilized sometimes. That said, he was ultra aggressive, which I love, and he had some terrific plays defensively. Yes, Tony Parker had 22 first half points, but that was after they rubbed Jrue off 257 screens. He played smart defense all night and had an 11 to 2 turnover to assist ratio. I just want to see him inside more on offense. Twenty footers will always be there as a last resort, not a first or second one.

– Eric Gordon finally snapped out of his funk. While he wasn’t perfect, he took shots with confidence and hit a few big ones. He really got hosed on the foul call that gave Danny Green three free throws and I am glad AD won the game, because I am afraid Gordon would have got blamed for that. Going to Cleveland, he should get looks that are even more open. Hopefully he can build on this.

– The bench wasn’t great, but they weren’t horrible. They held the fort down and even extended the lead a bit at the end of the third. But “not being bad” won’t be good enough all year. Some of these guys will have to step up.

– The media calls them “crafty” but the Spurs play some dirty, old man ball. But it ain’t a foul if the refs don’t call it and the refs don’t call it on Tim or Manu, so it’s not their fault. Do what it takes to win. And they do.

– Celebrate the win tonight, then off to Cleveland where we can see AD and his greatest competition for MVP go head-to-head.



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