Anthony Davis Refuses to Lose, as the Pelicans Defeat the Lakers

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Published: November 8, 2013

I don’t know why, but I couldn’t help but notice the symmetry and the irony in tonight’s game, as the Pelicans defeated the Lakers 96-85.  David Stern was in the house this evening, and it was impossible not to think back to the nixed CP3 to the Lakers deal that involved Pau Gasol (who went 3-12 tonight). That aborted trade changed the course of so many franchises, and in a round about way, brought Anthony Davis to New Orleans. And here we were, almost two years removed from that fateful night where David Stern altered the course of the NBA, and that same Anthony Davis put up 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

How poetic.

And it doesn’t stop there. Who was the second leading scorer for the Pelicans? None other than Eric Gordon – the centerpiece of the Chris Paul trade that Stern pushed through. And the Lakers leading scorer? Yep, you guessed it, Chris Kaman. Sometimes writers have to create a story when there isn’t one there, but this one writes itself. As the Pelicans paid homage to the man who saved their team from extinction, the team showed that they are not only still alive, but they are now relevant thanks to the budding superstar that is here because of a man named Stern.

Other Notes and Observations

– As I said in the title, Anthony Davis just refused to lose tonight. The 20-year-old on a rookie contract took three guards making 37 million per year and 9 other guys and simply threw them on his back tonight. If this were hockey, where you have to give three stars of the game, I would be tempted to give Anthony Davis all three spots. He was that good, and at times, his teammates were that bad, at least offensively. In past seasons, the Pelicans would have lost this game because they would have lacked a star to step up and take control. They don’t lack that anymore.

– Jason Smith was hitting his mid-range jumper again, well at least the contested ones. It’s weird with Smith; when a guy has a hand in his face, I am sure he will knock them down, but if you leave him wide open, he seems to miss those 18-footers more than he makes them. Thankfully, the Lakers contested somewhat tonight and Smith finished with 14 points on 7-12 shooting.

– The second unit was disturbingly bad in the second quarter, with several possessions running through Greg Stiemsma. One possession involved only three players, as Roberts dribbled (and dribble and dribbled) before passing it to Stiemsma in the post, who kicked it out to Lance Thomas at the free throw line for a jumper. Result? Airball. You are paying Tyreke Evans 44 million dollars to play limited minutes and change the game off the bench. Why then, does he sit in the corner while three borderline NBA players operate in some kind of a sadistic triangle offense? Why, Monty? WHY?

– 13 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals for Jrue Holiday. Yes, there were some bad shots (5-15) and some head scratching turnovers (4) mixed in there, but with a superstar big on this team in Anthony Davis, I will be thrilled to get those numbers from Jrue every night.

– Eric Gordon was super efficient and played some great defense down the stretch, but I honestly question if anybody has ever taught him how to run a fast break before. On multiple occasions he just put his head down and didn’t even look up to pass to anybody who was running with him. Then, on the one time he did give it up, he did it FAR too soon. For those who didn’t see the game, imagine this: Three-on-One break, Gordon in the middle flanked by Davis and Aminu at half court. He passes it to Davis at about the three-point line. Davis, then has to drive it in from there and get fouled. Who runs a fast break like that?!? All that said, nice game Eric, and a very good season so far.

– Brian Roberts, 0-5 and 6 fouls in 12 minutes. Now I know he has had some good minutes this year and I am not overreacting to this game because I said this in the podcast last night – the Pelicans need to cut down to a 9 man rotation, losing Roberts for now. Two of the three big money guards should be on the court at all times, and Morrow’s spacing is needed. In tonight’s game for instance, you take away Roberts 12 minutes and you give 7 to Evans (he got 27) and 5 to Gordon (31). Done and done.

– Austin Rivers and Jeff Withey played the final 8 seconds tonight!

– If you just looked at the box score, you would say, “Wow, nice game from Stiemsma!” Nobody who actually watched the game would say that though.

– I talked on the podcast about how you have to live with the occasional games where Al-Farouq Aminu doesn’t show up. Tonight was one of those nights. 19 minutes, 2 points on 4 shots, and just 1 defensive rebound. Gonna need a bounce back game or two on this mini road trip.

– The Pelicans held the #1 three-point shooting team in the NBA to just 6 makes on 19 attempts, mostly because they used a variety of different schemes to confuse the Lakers and their energy was terrific for most of the night. Just one really wide open three-pointer (by Steve Blake) that I can recall. Great effort tonight.

– The Pelicans play the Suns on Sunday, as Ryan Anderson has been upgraded to Day-to-Day. Hopefully we will see him at some point on this mini road trip. Oh yeah, and Anthony Davis is amazing. Thanks, Donald!

 

 

 

 

 

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