Observations: Pelicans Win At Home Against Cleveland

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Published: December 12, 2014

With 5:30 left in the 1st quarter Anthony Davis checked out of the game and did not return. It’s unclear what exactly caused the issue with the official word being that he suffered a chest contusion.

There’s been a lot of commentary recently that without Anthony Davis the Pelicans have a hard time playing well. When he’s off the court the Pelicans’ offensive rating dips to a paltry 100.9 among a variety of other metrics.

Tonight New Orleans had a tough task with Lebron James on fire. There was a sequence in the third quarter where Lebron hit every jumper. Babbitt, trying to take away the drive, gave him the room needed to step into his shot. It was quite awesome to watch because at the other end Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday were taking the Cavs to task.

And that really is the story tonight. Lebron threw everything at the Pelicans, but whatever he was doing offensively the Pels were doing as a team at the other end. Everyone must commend the energy New Orleans brought in Davis’ absence. Evans, Anderson and Holiday did a tremendous job of doing everything they could to get the win. That’s what made tonight so much fun, was watching these role players excel without the best player available.

As the game moved to the final period it did start off well. New Orleans seemed to have things in control before a mini Cavs run made things uneasy. However a Luke Babbitt three from the top sealed the win and gave the fans something to be happy about. NOLA is now back to .500, now sitting at 11-11.

Observations:

  • Tyreke Evans was an absolute bully tonight. Jen Hale asked what Coach Williams said to him post game and all he could say that it involved violence, so he couldn’t elaborate. Well, Evans was taking it to the Cavs tonight and was violating the common decency of Cleveland. He was finishing around the basket, finding team-mates and playing in control for most of the night. Over the past few weeks the most pleasing thing to see is how Evans has been able to find others when he drives. The entire defense collapses and will inevitably leave others open. Continuing this will be vital if the Pelicans want their offense to fire on all cylinders. He finished with 31 points on 24 shots, 10 assists on 2 turnovers and had a block and a steal.
  • Let’s not forget the importance of Ryan Anderson. After going through a bit of a rough patch Anderson hit 8 three’s on the night tying a career high. Before tonight he was shooting 16 per cent from three (over the past 5 games). With Davis out Anderson stepped up big time, filling the scoring void in the front-court. He finished with 30 points on 18 shots, had 4 rebounds and a block and steal.
  • Jrue Holiday‘s defense on Kyrie Irving was the most underrated thing to watch this evening. Kyrie was so pissed off, but Jrue kept on him. Yes, he finished with 17 points and 7 assists (Irving) but most of that was at the end when it never really mattered. At one point he was 0-10 from the field. Maybe Irivng can learn a thing or two from Holiday in terms of defense.
  • If there’s one player I’m very unsure about it’s Kevin Love. He looked okay for most of the game, but his dominance has fallen by the way side in Cleveland. He had 7 rebounds tonight. What the hell is that? For most of the game he is asked to drift well outside the paint and set screens for Irving or Waiters. He never received a post-up once tonight – pretty much all his points came from hustling. The coaches and his team-mates in Cleveland have to get him more involved and put him in positions to succeed – play to his strengths. I personally didn’t see that tonight.
  • The crowd really got into it – especially when Evans was doing his #bullyball
  • We will give you an update on Anthony Davis when we have one. We’re unsure if it’s anything serious, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

The Pelicans are now 11-11 on the season (7-2 at home). They play the Warriors at home on Sunday who will be without Andrew Bogut.

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