Pelicans Defeat Suns in Jrue Holiday’s Return

Jrue Holiday came back, and of course Anthony Davis had to get hurt almost immediately after #11 stepped on the court. Could it have possibly gone any other way for this snakebitten team? Of course not, but thankfully AD got cleared and returned in the 4th quarter, leading the Pelicans to a 90-75 victory. Despite playing just 23 minutes, Anthony Davis had a team high 19 points to go along with 9 boards and 4 assists. Holiday’s raw stats don’t look great (1-7, 2 points and 5 assists in 16 minutes) but he played good defense and really controlled the pace when he was on the floor. It is no coincidence that the Pelicans were +14 in those 16 minutes.

The scariest play of the game was when Anthony Davis took an elbow to the throat from Earl Barron early in the second quarter. He immediately went to the locker room and didn’t return until the 4th quarter started, but his impact was immediate. AD changed multiple shots in the quarter and scored 6 points to go along with 4 rebounds in the final frame. It would have been even more impressive had AD not missed 4 free throws in the period as well.

Truth be told, there was a lot of bad for the Pelicans in this game, but outside of PJ Tucker and Eric Bledsoe, it seems like most of the Suns already have their minds on their summer plans. The good here was the play of the bench and the return of Jrue Holiday. The Pelicans have a Magic Number of 3 and are in control of their own playoff destiny. Doesn’t matter how they win, just as long as they keep getting W’s.

Notes and Observations

– Monty Williams will have Ryan Anderson on a short leash moving forward, and rightfully so. Anderson just can’t buy a bucket and his confidence is long gone. Ryno got pulled in the 3rd in favor of Luke Babbitt and Dante Cunningham took some minutes from him as well. On a good note, Ryno’s defense was solid tonight, blocking two shots and contesting several others. If he can get his form back, this Pels team can be so dangerous. If he can’t, though, Monty might have to go with other options.

– Quincy Pondexter hit his first three of the game, and really wasn’t heard from again. He finished 1-7 for three points and got caught watching the ball a few times, which led to some easy points for the Suns. Luckily, Cunningham played well so the Pelicans still got production from the SF spot.

– Tyreke Evans must be really hurting, but he hasn’t said anything. He is always wrapped up in numerous places when he is resting on the bench, and he just isn’t driving as much lately despite having some open lanes. Hopefully the return of Jrue will ease the burden on him moving forward and allow him to heal. He was fine tonight, but made some head scratching plays as well. Even more than usual.

– Omer Asik was clumsy. He couldn’t score around the rim, and he fumbled numerous passes. But the guy grabbed 18 rebounds in 22 minutes. He doesn’t do everything well, obviously, but he does far more good than harm for this team.

– Props to Norris Cole in this game, who was the Pelicans best guard despite having three other guards on the roster all making more than 10 mil per year. He was hyper efficient offensively (12 points on 6 shots, 6 assists to just one turnover) and he played with energy on the defensive end. It’s gonna be hard to get all these guards the minutes they deserve now with Jrue back, but that is a great problem to have. Remember those games when Rivers and Jimmer were getting 40 minutes or so? Let that sink in.

– Anthony Davis is practicing 100 free throws right now while gargling an anti-biotic rinse.

– I still want PJ Tucker on this team. Bad. Suns put him on Tyreke tonight. On Ryno. On AD. He covers 4 positions and goes hard every minute. Love that guy.

– Big game in Houston on Sunday, to say the least. It looks like San Antonio will have something to play for one way or the other on the final game of the season, so Houston might be the game the Pels have to win to get into the playoffs. They will have to play much better than they did tonight to win that game, but it is possible. Montiejunas killed the Pels last game and he won’t be available for Houston. If the Pels want the playoffs, it is right there for the taking.

6 responses to “Pelicans Defeat Suns in Jrue Holiday’s Return”

  1. I saw Pondexter leave the game when Babbitt came in…I think Ryno is back to having “no legs” as most of his misses are short and the fadeaway has faded away.  Jrue took Douglas’ minutes and that was fine by me.  Excellent point on AD leaving almost exactly when Jrue finally stepped on the court for the first time in months.  It is just crazy this injury thing we have been dealt.  Cunningham shot like the Cunningham we saw right after he was signed…came at a great time for sure…Cole plugged the offenses holes at key times…I think Monty was salivating with Jrue and Cole out there at the same time defensively vs the second teamers…that coupled with AD’s return to start the 4th was the kickstart to our pulling away.  I heard a stat that we hounded them defensively into just 4pts on 14 possessions, and the denials near the rim got the crowd fired up.  Another fun game to watch and with only 75pts given up, I guess that will help our defensive stats to offset the Memphis debacle.
    I will be very concerned if we are unable to beat Houston.  A back to back with both on the road makes the Minnesota game very tough in my opinion the second night.  Spurs now gunning for the second seed and only have two games left…we need to beat Houston and the Clippers lose so that SA clinches either #2 or #3 by that last game. Memphis and Spurs have split 2-2. Spurs hold the tiebreak over Houston, but went 2-2 with Clips. Clips and Houston now tied and they also went 2-2 against each other. Clips finish vs Memphis & Denver, @ Phoenix. 
    As for OKC…I have been hoping for an L at Indiana as the Pacers are one game out of the 8th spot and playing to stay alive.  They just got Paul George back, which may provide them more inspiration than anything.  I was then hoping that the second of their back to back, which unfortunately is at home, might also be a Loss vs Portland, though tonight I heard that Afflalo is out up to 2 weeks so with Matthews and him both out, that is not looking good for us.  They also finish at Minnesota.
    So we must beat Minnesota and either Houston or San Antonio to get in. Winning the first two could get us in and resting the last game.

  2. Pelican Poster Look at how Minny is playing right now against the Lakers. That could be the 5th game in 3 nights, and I don’t know how we could lose it

  3. Michael McNamara Pelican Poster I don’t disagree, but we are talking about our often seen ‘Bizarro”-Pels, especially on the road…

  4. We go 2-1 we should be in. Outside chance we back in going 1-2. Winning at Houston puts all kinds of pressure on OKC. I hope it happens.

  5. Pelicans bench should have a big advantage against a thin Rockets bench. Ryno is due for a good game after two bad games. Jrue and Norris will be key IMO.

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