Davis returns and takes down Pistons

Published: March 4, 2015

Davis returned, played 42 minutes, and put up 39 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 8 blocked shots.  He had 1 turnover, and 1 personal foul.  He was phenomenal, was all over the court, was contesting everything, and made Monroe’s life miserable in the post.  Better yet, he showed no ill effects to his shoulder.  Excellent.

HOWEVER (and I apologize if you came here for a glowing recap full of paeans of joy about Davis.)

Davis’ return also was the return of iso-ball, and when Davis wasn’t hitting huge shots, it was painful to watch.  The team kept running plays whose primary option was Davis – and since Davis is amazing, he would get the ball about half the time and score.   The other half the time?  They’d be against a short shot clock or try to run another play for Davis.  The Pelicans ended the game with 12 threes taken – well below what they’d been doing with Davis out – and there were two – and I’m not kidding – two – plays run to get shots for Eric Gordon on the perimeter.  That’s right, two plays run for one of the most effective catch and shoot players in the league.  Not a single time did we see the ball swing on the perimeter, ending in an open shot for Cunningham, Gordon or Pondexter.  Instead, every play was a penetrate and kick at best – with only a couple clever ball reversals for open looks.

I know Davis coming back was a huge psychological boost and that he was pumped to be out there and wanted the ball.  I get it.  I just hope that in the next few games, we can get doses of Davis the focal point as well as the intelligent system basketball we saw with him out.  That team would be hella dangerous.


  • Enough of my buzzkill.  Did you freaking see Davis out there?  HOLY CRAP.  He was stuffing everyone and everything, moving faster than everyone, and drilled two monster jumpers to keep the Pelicans ahead at the end.  He did it all.  This game also illustrated the strength and power Davis has gained over the past two years.  Monroe and Drummond are both physical beasts – and Davis was absorbing contact from them that used to cut his ability to move and leap.  Now, he could take it and still get off his feet to contest shots and rebound.  He’s developing fast.
  • OAAA continue to impress me as a two headed center.  A combined 12 points, 22 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover and 5 fouls against a powerful Piston front line.  Can’t complain here.
  • Jodie Meeks torched Evans, so the Pelicans tried Gordon on him.  Jodie Meeks torched Gordon so they tried Cole on him.  The Pistons countered by bringing back Jackson to draw Cole away.  The Pelicans responded by putting Pondexter on Meeks.  Meeks guarded by Gordon and Evans? 6-8 and a pair of free throws.  Meeks against the other two?  2-6.
  • Number one reason to not use Evans as your lead ball handler:  He never starts his attack before 12 seconds have ticked off the shot clock.  This isn’t terrible if you’re running a high pick and roll – if you are trying other things, like a post up or a series of pin downs, it’s too much time wasted.  Cole and Gordon are much quicker at getting the offense initiated.
  • Babbitt and Cunningham felt the pinch to their minutes with Davis’ return.  Ajinca held strong, keeping 23 minutes – about what he got with Davis out.
  • How many times have you seen a game with three players with 13, 11 and 11 rebounds respectively(Davis, Asik, Ajinca) – and those guys aren’t even the top two rebounders in the game?

Next game is Friday against Boston!  Hopefully the wins will keep coming!


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