Pelicans snap losing streak against Grizzlies

Published: January 20, 2014

Anthony Davis left his fingerprints all over that game as he showed just what kind of dynamic two-way player he is in the league.  We’ll talk more about him in a bit, but I do need to say this game belongs to the bench.  Ajinca, Withey, Rivers and Evans all had important contributions to the cause, and though the Pelican starters were outplayed at times, the Pelicans bench massacred the Grizzlies bench.

As bad as Rivers and Roberts have been in the past – tonight the duo did a great job.  Roberts played off the ball mostly on the offensive side and knocked down the open shots that were generated, and defensively he did a good job making Conley work to get open by cutting him off and jumping picks.  Then Rivers came in and caused havoc attacking with the ball and delivering continued stout defense.  Add in Ajinca and Withey providing capable post defense against Gasol and the Pelicans managed to hold on to the lead for most of the game.

Because, of course, Anthony Davis was a monster.  He thoroughly dominated Zach Randolph defensively in the first half.  All the normal shots Randolph could get off – short fades and hooks – those were sent back or bothered into a miss.  It was interesting, but it was the third that was the best part of the game for me.  Randolph took the first half personally, and he unleashed everything a savvy post scorer has on Davis.  Up and unders, drop steps, counter-hooks.  He threw the kitchen sink at Anthony – and Davis proved game.  More, Davis responded by attacking on the other end of the court, curling off downscreens, catching on the move and dunking, running the open court, and facing up against his defenders.  He not only matched Randolph’s scoring, he surpassed it.   The only aspect of the game that Randolph had a real advantage was crashing the offensive boards.  Davis kept having to help on penetration and forced numerous misses – but Randolph is the master in that situation, kept slipping in behind Anthony and getting tip in. helping himself to 10 offensive rebounds and a monster 20-22 game.  Can’t blame the young fella for that though.

In the end, it was Davis and Evans operating together that put the game away 95-92.

  • I can hear some of you complaining now when looking at the box score and Tyreke Evans minutes.   Tyreke ended with 26, but he deserved the short minutes he got in the first half because he defended himself better than anyone else.  He kept settling for jumpers, got a back-to-the-basket 5 second call, which is so rarely called I can remember one, and managed to shift gears into “faster than a jog” exactly once.  Rivers, Gordon and Roberts were better options in the first.
  • That five second call was amazing.  Evans got the ball in the post and literally dribbled and watched the court without doing anything.  The team waited for him to make a move, waited, and waited, and waited.  Bizarre.
  • When Rivers attacked, good things happened – either made baskets or tip ins.   It’s nice to see some of those shots he generates going down for him, though he still throws the ball at the basket like a bullet.  Just no touch.
  • Ajinca is a good post defender.  He’s bad in the pick and roll, but in the post?  If he can resist trying to block everything, he’s really, really good.  Couple that with his solid mid-range shot, and against slow-footed centers he’s a great matchup guy.  His big games have been against Hibbert, Robin Lopez and Gasol.   Seems like his most effective niche is clear.
  • Evans in the fourth was a different ball game than in the first.  He was set on attacking, and it kept producing good things.   Glad to see he did what he needed to when the chips were down.
  • I hope Withey didn’t just get those 15 minutes because Stiemsma was in foul trouble.  He was solid out there, and at least isn’t a foul machine.   I’d rather have him on the floor.
  • Gasol needs to grow out his hair.  Whenever he gets bumped he flings his head around like someone knocked him silly.  At one point, Eric Gordon set a pick, and as Gasol ran by him, he flung his head backwards like Gordon had shoved him.  The whistles stayed silent.  The refs know Gordon never hits anyone like that.
  • This is the first game in a while where I felt like we got more favorable calls.

Next game is tomorrow against the Kings!


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