Short Handed Pelicans Hold On to Defeat Los Angeles Clippers

It’s been a long, brutal season for the Pelicans and their fans. The news didn’t get any better today as Alvin Gentry announced that they would be shutting down Anthony Davis for the season, just as their former franchise centerpiece – Chris Paul – came to town. But how embarrassing is it for the Clippers, who were relatively healthy (except for trainer punching Blake Griffin), to lose to a Pelicans team missing Davis, Tyreke Evans, Quincy Pondexter, Ryan Anderson, and Eric Gordon on Sunday afternoon? Perhaps Pelicans fans can take some solace from the pain Floppers, I mean Clippers, fans felt today.

Omer Asik had perhaps his best game of the season, posting 15 points and 14 rebounds, making him one of six Pelicans to reach double figures in a 109-105 victory. In addition to posting great raw numbers, Asik was a thorn in DeAndre Jordan’s side, holding him in check for most of the game. When the Clippers are great, DeAndre is dominating the glass, but he simply didn’t do that when Asik was out there today. Jordan had just 3 offensive rebounds in 34 minutes, and only 9 total. He also only had 5 field goal attempts, as Asik and company defended the lob well for most of the day.

The Pelicans guards kept the offense from getting stagnant, as Holiday, Tim Frazier, and Toney Douglas all had their moments. Jrue attacked every minute that he was on the court, finishing with 22 points and 8 assists, but Frazier and Douglas were the big surprises. They combined for 32 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists – including a career-high 17 points for Frazier. No matter who was in, the guards kept the tempo Gentry has wanted to see all season, and more importantly, kept the ball moving. Turnovers were a problem, and quite honestly they were the main reason LA stayed in the game, but they were good turnovers. They were turnovers built out of aggression, not stupidity.

The Pelicans seemed to have the game wrapped up, leading by 14 with just over 2 minutes to play, but the Clippers came storming back. In fact, DeAndre Jordan had the chance to tie the game up with 28 seconds left to go, but bricked a free throw. Then, in true Austin Rivers fashion, the coaches son took an ill-advised three with Chris Paul, JJ Reddick, and Jamal Crawford on the court, and that was all she wrote. The Pelicans hung on to win in a game that most fans probably wanted them to lose. But have no fear, the tank will live to fight another day. For now, let’s enjoy the win over the Floppers.

Other Notes and Observations

  • As we all know by now, an All-NBA selection for Anthony Davis will net him approximately $24 million. If he doesn’t get it, the Pelicans only have to pay AD 25% of next year’s cap, which should create an extra 4-5 million dollars in cap space every year for the next 4-5 years. I think it is safe to say that seven of the forward/center All-NBA spots are locked up, leaving two spots AD can sneak in to. Lebron, KD, Paul George, Draymond Green, Kawhi, Boogie, and DeAndre Jordan will all make an All-NBA team. Competing with AD for those two final spots will be: Paul Milsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, Andre Drummond, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, and Hassan Whiteside. History says that a player on a team that won less than 40% of its games rarely makes the All-NBA team. The rare guys who did make the NBA team under those conditions all played 70 or more games, with the exception of Cousins last year, who put up 24 and 13 in a year with a poor center crop. AD will play 61. Basically, AD won’t get many (if any) forward votes. He could get put on some 3rd team center ballots, but other guys will get put on more. So, long story short is that history says AD likely won’t make third team All-NBA. My bet is on Milsap and Drummond rounding out those teams. They are having good seasons on winning teams, and will likely both play more than 75 games this year. In fact, Drummond hasn’t missed a single game this year.
  • One more thing: People, please understand the difference between ‘soft’ and ‘injury-prone.’ Anthony Davis has been playing with a torn labrum since November. He is not soft. It is very possible, however, that his body is injury prone. When you get on the interwebs and whine and complain, just at least make sure you are using the right terminology.
  • I am starting to buy into this Tim Frazier kid. The points and efficiency are one thing – that stuff never really impresses me in a small sample size on a terrible team. The thing that does impress me, however, is his tenacity and his ability to get those 50/50 balls. As I stated a few weeks ago, we need some hungry guys on this team. Some never give up types. He reminds me a lot of Dellavadova, actually. Let’s give the kid a contract for this season and beyond.
  • On the flip side, Alexis Ajinca was beyond horrible. What happened to the guy who posted a 20 PER last year? He seems lost in these new systems.
  • It feels like Toney Douglas has been around forever, but he is just 30 years old. I can really get excited about a backup guard rotation of Frazier, Douglas, and BDJ making a combined 3 million dollars off the bench next year. Heck, throw in Pondexter too and you have all the backup guards and wings you need on the cheap. The hard part will be finding the starting 2 and 3 for this team. Oh, and keeping them healthy once you get them.
  • I know Ryan isn’t a big fan of Dante, and he has some stinkers, but his effort is always there, and he occasionally has games like this too. I just don’t think you can get much more for 3 mil per year moving forward, and I think I will like him even more when he is exclusively playing power forward when Ryno moves on.
  • Kendrick Perkins plays every game like it is that Game 7 of the Finals he had to miss due to injury, and I like that. Guy cares so much.
  • Wesley Johnson and Austin Rivers combined to go 3-19 overall, and 0-11 from deep. You da real MVP.
  • Had Buddy Hield on one screen and the Pelicans on the other, and I like the kid – He was amazing in the 2nd half – but I can’t see him ever being a star in the NBA. Excellent shooter, and killer mentality, but his handle will be average to below average in the pros and he won’t be able to isolate and rise over players from deep. He also is a pretty poor shooter whenever catching and having to turn over his left shoulder. I think he will be very good – again, JJ Reddick is my comp for him – but those who see Klay Thompson are reaching. Thompson is a bigger, faster defender who can shoot over NBA size wings. I like Hield and would be fine with him at 6 or 7, but if you are looking for that 2nd banana on a title team, he won’t be that guy. But I also can’t see him being a bust.
  • New York is playing Sacramento right now, which means… one of them HAS to win tonight! For those with one eye on the draft, the Pels, Kings, and Knicks will likely finish 6, 7, 8. Just depends on who is where. So, if the tourney games are boring you tonight, flip on over for Boogie verse the Lativian Gang Banger!

One response to “Short Handed Pelicans Hold On to Defeat Los Angeles Clippers”

  1. Man. No one comments anymore. I will say that I really really hope Evans isn’t here next year. The eye test shows how much the ball moves without him around. Even Cole has passed more. I really enjoyed watching this game just cause of the fundamental basketball being played

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